Visitation is Not Based on the Payment of Child Support
In Camacho v. Camacho, the appellate court limited the family law judge’s ability to tie visitation and therapy with custody.
The parties in this case had a baby together. The father of the minor child rarely visited his son during the first four years of his son’s life. The mother remarried and informed the child’s father that she no longer wanted him to see his son. Although the parties had been married in the past, their son was born four years after the divorce was final. The father initiated this paternity action to request visitation.
The court determined the child’s paternity. The mother requested a slow increase in visitation between the and his father so that the father and child could get to know each other. The trial court ordered an increase in visitation as long as the father underwent counseling and paid child support. The order did not determine how long the father would have to participate in therapy.
The Second District Appellate Court held that once paternity was established, a father’s visitation could not be dependent on the payment of child support unless there was also a showing that it was in the child’s best interest. The court stated that the legislature has repeatedly recognized that the right of visitation and support accrue to the benefit of the child and are independent of each other.
The appellate court held that it was error to order the father in this case to attend counseling indefinitely when there was no finding that the father’s mental health was at issue. The court also held that it was a violation of the father’s due process rights to undergo psychiatric treatment when nothing in the record suggested a need for therapy.
If you need a divorce attorney in the Orange County area to address custody issues or any other divorce matter such as legal separation, annulment, child custody, spousal support and/or property division, contact our law office located in Laguna Hills at (949) 716-2102. Conveniently located off of the 5 and 405 freeway at Lake Forest.
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