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Stepparent, Relative And Grandparent Visitation

Stepparent Visitation

The Court may grant reasonable visitation to a stepparent if it is in the child’s best interest [Family Code section 3101].

A stepparent is defined as a person who is a party to the marriage that is the subject of the proceeding who is seeking visitation with the children or children of the other party to the marriage [Family Code section 3101].

Visitation By Relatives Of A Deceased Parent

If either parent of an unemancipated minor child is deceased, the children, siblings, parents and grandparents of the deceased parent may be granted reasonable visitation if it is in the child’s best interest [Family Code section 3102]. The list set forth in Family Code section 3102 is not exhaustive [Guardianship of Martha M (1988) 204 Cal.App.3d 909, 913].

Grandparent Visitation

By far the most common is grandparent visitation. Grandparents can seek visitation in one of two ways:

  • When there is already a proceeding pending where custody and visitation is already before the court [Family Code section 3103]; OR
  • A “proceeding” includes, without limitation, dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage, legal separation, Domestic Violence Protection Act, and Paternity action [Family Code section 3021].

By independent action if there is not already a proceeding pending [Family Code section 3104]. The caveat is that a grandparent cannot seek court-ordered visitation if the parents are still married, unless a statutory exception applies i.e., the parents are living separately and apart on a permanent or indefinite basis.

Grandparent visitation is NOT automatic and it is more challenging if a parent of the minor child or children objects.