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Visitation Rights

Fresno Family Law Attorney Upholds Your Visitation Rights

Staunch representation to establish fair parenting time with your kids

When parents don’t live together, either because they’ve divorced or were never married, the question of custody and visitation arises. Contemporary courts in California tend to favor joint custody agreements, where parents have the children with them in their home on a 50-50 basis. However, this arrangement is not appropriate for all families, especially when one parent has a demanding career. When a parent has less than 50 percent of the physical custody, that parent is said to have visitation rights. At Gates Law Group, A Professional Corporation, we help our clients obtain visitation orders that are fair under their circumstances. We also help them enforce and modify such orders whenever such actions are necessary for their children’s health, safety and welfare. In addition, we assist grandparents seeking to maintain a loving relationship with their grandchildren.

Basics of California visitation for parents

Parents can reach agreement on their parenting plan through negotiations or mediation, or they can present the question to the court for a ruling. Visitation plans generally fall into three categories:

  • Visitation according to a schedule — Here, the parents have worked out a detailed visitation plan listing the dates and times each parent will have the children. The schedule accounts for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions, as well as vacations. A level of fine detail often prevents conflicts and confusion. It gives parents a much better idea of what they are agreeing to, so they are more likely to buy into the plan and help make it work.
  • Reasonable visitation — An order for reasonable visitation is more like an outline of the noncustodial parent’s rights. Because the terms are not written out, these types of orders require a greater level of communication and flexibility. Parents who get along well can usually make these plans work, but tension over frequent disagreements can be detrimental to the children.
  • Supervised visitation — If accusations of unfitness come up during divorce or custody proceedings, the court can restrict contact between the accused parent and the child until the accusations are resolved. The court can order that a qualified professional observe the parent and child while they spend time together.  The court can also order supervised visitation in situations where the child does not know the parent well enough and needs the comforting presence of a familiar adult.
  • No visitation — If the court is convinced that contact with the parent, even under supervision, would be detrimental to the child, an order prohibiting visitation is possible.

In all child custody and visitation decisions, the court’s primary consideration is the best interest of the children. We bring to the court’s attention all pertinent facts that weigh in your favor as we fight to protect your rights.

California visitation law for grandparents

Grandparents are often collateral damage in disputes between parents. When a marriage breaks up, or even when a parent passes away, a custodial parent may decide to bar the grandparents on that side from seeing the children. Fortunately, under California family law, grandparents can ask the court for reasonable visitation with their grandchildren. However, there are two requirements:

  • A pre-existing relationship between grandparent and grandchild that has “engendered a bond,” so that visitation is in best interest of the grandchild
  • A favorable balance between the benefit of visitation and the rights of the parents to make decisions about their child

Under most circumstances, grandparents cannot request visitation while the parents are married. But the law allows for exceptions:

  • The parents are living separately.
  • A parent’s whereabouts are unknown.
  • One of the parents supports the grandparent’s petition for visitation.
  • The child does not live with either parent.
  • The stepparent has adopted the grandchild.

We represent grandparents in these matters, but we also assist parents who have reasonable concerns about allowing contact with grandparents who might have a negative influence on the children.

Contact an experienced family law attorney in Fresno for a free consultation on visitation rights

Gates Law Group, A Professional Corporation handles every aspect of child custody and visitation, including grandparent visitation, throughout California. Please call 559-432-9944 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. Our firm’s main office is in Fresno, but we also assist clients from locations in Paso Robles and Visalia.

Our Office
  • Fresno Office
    2445 Capitol Street
    Suite 160 E
    Fresno, California 93721
    Phone: 559-432-9944
    Fax: 866-740-6678
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