There are several reasons a parent in California might be denied visitation rights by a court or the other parent. Courts will rarely deny visitation altogether unless the child’s safety is in question because of an issue like abuse. In some cases, the parent might only be permitted supervised visitation in which another person is present. The parent might be ordered to take actions such as attending parenting classes or a substance abuse program. As a step toward restoring visitation rights, the parent should comply with any court orders.

The court will generally not block access because of unpaid child support and a parent should not either. However, a parent could deny the other parent visitation for any number of valid or invalid reasons ranging from concerns for the child’s safety to anger at the other parent.

A parent who is denied visitation should document the situation, but in general, parents should make an effort to resolve issues, particularly minor ones, before going to court. It may be possible to fix the issue the other parent is concerned about. If it is a new partner, the parents may be able to make a plan together about introducing the child. Parents may want to take legal action including calling law enforcement. While police will usually not take action, they will document the situation.

During the divorce process, parents might be able to create a foundation for a co-parenting relationship that works. Even if they are heading into the divorce with a lot of conflicts, mediation or another alternative dispute resolution method may help them resolve any differences. However, if parents cannot reach an agreement about issues around child custody and visitation either during the divorce process or afterward, they might have to go to court. A judge will make a decision that is in the best interests of the child.