Speak Up! - View Question #149
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Question: What is the process of court to receive visitation rights?
Answer: The answer to this question depends on the relationship of the person who wants visitation rights to the child. A father would need to establish paternity and usually visitation will be established in the same action. He must file a petition in Superior Court to establish paternity. If he has been established as the father, he must file a petition to establish custody and visitation. (He is the father if he was married to the mother when the child was born, or if he has gotten an order of paternity from the Superior Court.)
Other people may also file petitions for visitation. Grandparents may file under some circumstances. Any person who has established a relationship with a child that is almost that of a parent ('in loco parentis') can also file. This relationship would be if the child lived with the person for a significant period of time.
Visitation will be granted by the court if the court finds that the visitation will be in the best interests of the child. What this means depends entirely on the circumstances.
If the other party (the mother for example) doesn't want the visitation to take place, she will present evidence why visitation is not in the best interests of the child.
The judge will decide whether to grant visitation,and will issue orders about how much visitation to grant.