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Ray, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 40977
Experience:  30 years in civil, probate, real estate, elder law
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By law is there a certain age a child must be, before an

Customer Question

By law is there a certain age a child must be, before an overnight visit is recommended?
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: California
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: It is in the process, the child is only 4 months old, parents were not together during pregnancy, or at this time
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: What is the legal age when a child must have their own room, the child is a little girl.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ray replied 9 months ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today.Please bear with me a few moments while I review your question and respond.

Expert:  Ray replied 9 months ago.

In my practice I have argued for clients on both sides of this issue and it always gets down to the facts of the particular people in the particular case. California does not have a specific law but allows the judge to decide whether it is appropriate.Issues relevant to a judge in my experience include to the age of the father, any other children he has helped raise - if any, his involvement with the prenatal care, care of the baby prior to the parents separating, support he provided during pregnancy and since that time, his aptitude, his intellect, any issues he might have with drugs, alcohol, unemployment, instability, abusive personality, etc.

The judge also reviews, whether or not mom is being reasonable with trying to allow the father to nurture a familial bond, what she is doing, how she is responding to the logistical requirements to move the child back and forth, etc. The court might also consider his family and extended family and whether they are involved constructively or destructively in forming a bond with his side of the family and the same issues concerning your side of the family.

I have seen many situations where a specific overnight is held or two and then a new hearing after that time is scheduled to see if there were legitimate problems or to green light regular overnights.

Assuming a father has been involved in parenting and has maturity here say 22 or older much more likely they get an overnight at least a trial.If the father has known issues here be it with drugs, alcohol, instability, prior convictions then there be reason to delay overnights.But with a normal adult that has had interaction with infant the judge may at least grant a trial visit.Even if mother is breastfeeding pumping can be done to store the amount of nourishment for the child.

That is as definitive an answer as I can give you under California family law and practice.Please let me know if you have more follow up based on this.Thanks again.

Expert:  Ray replied 9 months ago.

Law here for reference

In making a child custody order between the parents in California, the court must also grant the other (noncustodial) parent "reasonable visitation rights" . . . unless it is shown that visitation would be "detrimental to the best interest of the child." [Ca Fam § 3100(a)]

Because of the importance placed on "frequent and continuing contact" with both parents, an order completely withholding a parent's visitation privileges may issue only upon a finding that any form of visitation with the parent would be "detrimental" to the child's best interest. [Ca Fam § 3100(a)] If the custody order does not provide for parent visitation rights but does not expressly withhold such rights, the noncustodial parent has an implicit right to "reasonable visitation."

Trial courts generally have broad discretion in defining a parent's "reasonable visitation" rights and establishing a visitation schedule. Subject to a few statutory limitations (below), the sole guideline is the child's best interest (Ca Fam § 3100(a)).

Expert:  Ray replied 9 months ago.

The test for the judge

In all cases, child visitation orders must accommodate the paramount policy of assuring the child's health, safety and welfare and, to the extent consistent therewith, the policy preference for "frequent and continuing contact with both parents", except where such contact would not be in the child's best interest pursuant to the Ca Fam § 3011 factors. [Ca Fam § 3020]

Beyond this general framework, courts consider such practical matters as the child's age, maturity and special needs, the parent's physical proximity to the child's primary residence and, where appropriate, the child's own preference.

I appreciate the chance to help you.