In many California divorce cases, one or both parents receive custody of a child or children. A parent who is not granted custody may still be entitled to visitation rights. A parent can ask for supervised visitation when uncomfortable with the other parent having access to a child alone, but a parent who has committed violent or abusive actions may sometimes still be permitted visitation.
If a case involves a restraining order, protective order or emergency protective order, a judge considers the best interests of a child when granting or denying a visitation request. A court can allow supervised or unsupervised visitation or may suspend a parent’s visitation rights. While some young children might be mature enough to offer an intelligent opinion concerning visitation, courts are more likely to consider the opinions of those older than 14.
Drug or alcohol testing may be required when a judge has reason to believe an abusive parent may be a habitual user, and the test results could be used when making a decision about visitation. Testing may be necessary when a parent has convictions related to drugs or alcohol within five years of a hearing.
Domestic violence victims can contact the Family Violence Appellate Project when one thinks a visitation order endangers a child. This group helps low-income abuse survivors who cannot afford an attorney when contesting recent child custody orders or defending against appeals. Courts in California usually believe it is best for children to have contact with both parents, but cases of abuse can cause exceptions as this may endanger a child’s safety or well-being. One may need an attorney who can document abuse and present evidence to a judge in family court.
Source: Women’s Law, “Can a parent who committed violence get visitation?“, December 15, 2014