What Can Cause a Parent to Lose Visitation Rights?

Family law matters, especially child custody and child visitation cases, can be emotionally challenging and draining. If you are trying to get or maintain custody or visitation rights, you should be aware of some of the potential ways that you can lose visitation rights in California, which we will discuss below.

Reasons a Parent Can Lose Custody or Visitation in California

In California, the court may restrict a parent's visitation rights with their child if they do not fulfill certain obligations. Here are some reasons why a parent can lose child visitation in California:

  • Engaging in criminal activity. Parents who commit a crime may be deemed unfit to visit their children until they have served their sentence and/or completed any necessary rehabilitation programs.
  • Committing child abuse or neglect. While child abuse refers to any physical injury, sexual abuse, or emotional abuse inflicted on a child by another person, child neglect occurs when a child is treated negligently in a way that threatens their welfare of health. If a parent commits child abuse or neglect, they are at risk of having the court grant a modification or revocation of their visitation or custody rights.
  • Committing parental alienation. Parental alienation occurs when a parent tries to or does place intentional distance between their child and the child’s other parent.
  • Making false accusations (knowingly). The court takes allegations of abuse or other issues that endanger the child’s welfare or health. Making a false accusation can have serious consequences, including losing visitation rights/privileges.
  • Having continued substance abuse issues. If it is determined that either parent is abusing drugs or alcohol, the court may suspend or limit visitation rights until that person can prove that they can provide a safe environment for the child. Parents may be required to submit to drug or alcohol testing or monitoring to maintain visitation. It is also important to note that a parent can file to have custody orders modified if they worry for their child’s safety because of the parent’s abuse issues.

If you are facing issues related to your visitation rights as a parent in California, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced family law attorney who can help explain your legal options and suggest ways to protect your interests during this process.

It is important to note that parents cannot withhold custody or visitation if the other party fails to pay support. Withholding custody and visitation can have serious consequences as you are violating court orders. If you are owed support, you can take legal action to enforce payment, which we discuss in further detail in our previous blog, “Can I Withhold Visitation for Unpaid Child Support?”

If you suspect abuse or neglect, you also cannot unilaterally decide to withhold or cancel visitation; you can be found in contempt of court and can face legal consequences. You will need to contact a lawyer and file a petition with the court to limit or cancel visitation. The court will then investigate the evidence and can issue temporary orders until a determination is made.

Contact The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc online or via phone (949) 577-7935 today to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with our child custody/visitation attorneys.