If the parent with sole/joint custody has moved far away due to military duty, can his/her relatives get visitation?
Yes – if the relative can meet certain conditions. The relocating parent (not the family member) can file legal papers to ask the judge to give visitation rights to a step-parent, grandparent, or other family member. The judge can grant the visitation if the judge does all of the following:
- Believes that there is a pre-existing relationship and bond between the family member and the child, so that visitation is in the child’s best interest;
- Believes that the visitation will help the child's contact with the absent parent; and
- Balances the interest of the child in having visitation with the family member against the right of the parents to use their parental authority.1
Note: These visitation rights to a family member do not affect the calculation of child support.2
1 Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 3047(b)(3)(B)
2 Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 3047(b)(3)(C) and (D)