Four Reasons Visitation Gets Denied to the Noncustodial Parent

Visitation is a type of child custody arrangement in California where one parent has sole physical and legal custody of a child and the noncustodial parent only has the right to supervised or unsupervised visits. Visitation is subject to the best interests of the child. Visitation could get denied to a noncustodial parent in California if a judge deems that it may harm the child in some way.

No Parental Rights

Visitation rights may not be available if the noncustodial parent is not considered the legal parent of the child. A spouse may not have any parental rights if his or her rights have been terminated, he or she voluntarily gave up the rights to the child, or paternity was never established, according to our experienced San Diego paternity attorney. For example, if an individual was not the biological parent of a child and was not married to the other parent at the time of the child’s birth, he or she may not have legal parentage without a signed birth certificate or declaration of parental rights.

Potential Child Endangerment

If a parent has a history of being violent or abusive, especially involving the child, the courts may deny visitation with that parent to protect the child’s physical and emotional well-being. If the child could potentially be at risk of any form of abuse, neglect or mistreatment, the courts will refuse visitation to preserve the child’s health, safety and happiness.

This may occur if a parent has a history of any of the following:

  • Physical child abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Child molestation
  • Parental kidnapping
  • Mental or emotional abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Child neglect
  • Violent felony convictions
  • Sexual felony convictions

A judge can examine each parent’s history, criminal record, police reports, character witness statements, psychological evaluations and other types of evidence to determine whether visitation would be in the best interests of a child. If the custodial parent points out a history of noncustodial parent actions or behaviors that could harm the child, visitation will most likely be denied.

Drug or Alcohol Abuse

If a parent has a history of drug or alcohol misuse or abuse, the courts may decide that visitation with that parent is not in a child’s best interests. Substance abuse by a parent could lead the courts to question the parent’s ability to protect the child’s physical and mental well-being during visits, such as the ability to stay sober during interactions and meetings. If the parent shows the courts that he or she is in recovery, such as consistent substance abuse counseling or an established history of sobriety, it may be possible to petition the courts to obtain or reinstate withheld visitation rights. However, each case is unique.

Child’s Choice (If Old Enough)

In some child custody cases in California, the child is old enough to choose whether he or she wants to visit with the noncustodial parent. If the child is old enough and mature enough, the courts may consider his or her opinion and desires in a visitation decision. If an older child or adolescent refuses to see the noncustodial parent, that parent could waive his or her right to visitation voluntarily. If not, the custodial parent could seek denial of visitation based on the child’s wishes.

To learn more about visitation in a child custody case in California, contact a San Diego child visitation attorney from Boyd Law to request a free and confidential case review.