When an adult who is not the guardian of a child wishes to have court-ordered visitation, the court refers to such visitation as contact with the child. The law allows both parents who are non-guardians as well as certain other parties, including stepparents and grandparents, to seek contact.
Non-guardians who have contact with a child will not be able to make decisions for the child and do not have parental responsibilities. Parents who are concerned about their child’s health and safety when they are with the person seeking contact may request several different things.
Parents may request the contact have conditions attached. For instance, the person seeking contact may be restricted from using drugs or alcohol at least 24 hours prior to the child’s visit and told not to take the child out of the community. Parents may also request that the contact be supervised by a neutral third party or that the contact occur only at specific places or at specific times. Courts are generally inclined to grant a non-guardian parent contact with a child, but may limit that contact in a way best suited to protect the child’s best interests and safety.
People who wish to seek an order for contact with a child of whom they are not a parent or guardian may benefit by seeking the help of a family law lawyer. A parent who wishes to object to such a request may also want to seek assistance. A family law lawyer may be able to help by strongly advocating on their client’s behalf. They may also assist in seeking a limitation on contact if the child’s safety necessitates it. In the event the guardian parent agrees to a contact request, the parties may file a stipulation with the court.