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Visitation Rights of Non-Parents

Even if you aren’t a parent of a minor, you may be able to petition the court for visitation of the minor.

One example of this falls under California Family Code Section 3102(a), which gives a non-parent the right to visit if one natural parent of the child is deceased. If either parent of an unemancipated minor dies, the deceased parent’s children, siblings, parents and grandparents “may be granted reasonable visitation” rights during the child’s minority upon a finding visitation would be in the child’s best interest. Family Code Section. §3102(a).

This right to child visitation must be balanced with the fundamental right of a parent to make parenting decisions concerning their child’s contact with grandparents and other relatives. Consequently, trial courts entertaining a contested §3102 visitation claim must ordinarily defer to the surviving parent’s constitutional right to determine the child’s care, custody and control.

At least where no evidence of the surviving parent’s “unfitness” as a parent is presented and he or she is not seeking to cut off grandparent visitation completely, the nonparent petitioners bear burden of rebutting the presumption favoring a fit parent’s visitation decisions.

Contact a Los Angeles Family Law attorney at the Land Legal Group to determine what your rights may be in a complex litigation. Attorney Joseph Land has experience in these types of cases and can counsel parties on both sides of the argument.

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