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Who may request nonparent visitation with a minor child?

Grandparents, relatives, step parents and any person having an interest in the welfare of the child, including nonrelatives and prior Guardians.

When may a request for nonparent visitation with a minor child be made?

Usually must be made in the course of a proceeding in which custody otherwise is or may be at issue.  For example a Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage action, a Paternity case, a Family Law Domestic Violence Restraining Order action, a Guardianship case, or a Juvenile Dependency case.

However, in the event either parent of an unemancipated minor child is deceased, a Petition may be initiated for visitation by the children, siblings, parents, and/or grandparents of the deceased parent at any time. 

What has to be done to request nonparent visitation?
A Motion for Joinder must be filed with the Court requesting you be joined as a party to the current proceeding.  A Motion for Joinder is not required if either parent is deceased. 

Next, a Petition must be filed with the Court requesting you be awarded nonparent visitation with the minor child.  Included with the Petition is your declaration explaining why this is in the child’s best interest and all additional relevant facts the Court should consider. 

Both the Motion for Joinder and the Petition must be served on both parents and anyone else who is entitled to custody of the minor child, such as a guardian. 

What does the Court consider in determining whether visitation should be awarded to a nonparent?

There are a number of factors the Court considers in awarding visitation to a nonparent. The Court must respect the parent(s) due process right to the care, custody and control of their child.  There is a presumption that the parent(s) decision to terminate visitation with a nonparent is in the child’s best interest.  The presumption may be overcome by a showing that visitation with a nonparent is in the best interest of the child and denial of visitation would be detrimental to the child. 

For additional information regarding nonparent visitation it is recommended you consult with an attorney who can review the facts specific to your situation.

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