When a California court appoints a guardian to care for a child, usually one of two things has happened. Either the parent has come to the conclusion that he or she is unable to properly provide for the child, at least temporarily, due to health issues, incarceration, substance abuse, or some other issue, or the court has imposed a guardianship upon the parent-child relationship. In either case, a guardianship will mean that the parent’s rights are at least temporarily suspended and that another adult such as family member will take legal custody of the child for some period of time. But this is different than the termination of all parental rights as happens in an adoption. A parent may eventually seek to regain custody of a child that has been placed in a guardianship, but, in the meantime, that parent may also seek court-ordered visitation with the child.
How a Court Decides to Award Visitation in California
Courts across California overseeing guardianships may have somewhat different procedures for dealing with visitation by county, but, ultimately, the question of what type of visitation arrangement, if any, should be imposed on a guardianship is to be determined based on the best interests of the child. In other words, in deciding whether visitation is required and what form it should take, the court is concerned not with the interests of the guardian or the parent per se, but instead on whether visitation would be in the best interests of the child.
Analyzing the Best Interests of the Child
In making this visitation determination, a court will consider a number of factors, including whether visitation would promote stability in the child’s life and any potential dangers to the child’s health and safety that would be caused by visitation. In general, California courts consider ongoing contract between a child and his or her parents to be in the best interests of the child, but, if visitation would pose a potential threat to the child’s well-being due to concerns over domestic abuse or substance abuse, the court may decline to award visitation or may require that visitation be supervised.
A court may also place discretion with the guardian to decide whether visitation should occur and under what conditions. An adoption/guardianship attorney can provide you with further legal guidance and strategies on how best to approach questions relating to visitation in a California guardianship.
Experienced Attorneys for Your California Guardianship or Adoption
Adoption Law Group is a law firm in Southern California dedicated exclusively to adoption.
Our areas of practice include stepparent adoptions, fost-adopt finalizations, agency-assisted adoption finalizations, adult adoptions, guardianships and international readoptions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.