In the state of California, the courts are given the discretion to grant “reasonable visitation” rights to nonparents who have interest in the welfare of the child [Fam.C. § 3100(a)]. Therefore they may grant visitation rights to any other person who have such interest, including siblings, if the court finds it best for the child.
However, nonparent visitation is subject to parents’ 14th Amendment rights to make decisions on the care, custody, and control of their children. The decision to grant nonparent visitation cannot be made solely on the trial court judge’s discretion if it infringes on the right of the fit parent who is in custody of the child.
But the parents’ substantive due process rights, although having significant weight in the decision regarding nonparent visitation, is not absolute. An evidentiary hearing may determine whether granting a nonparent visitation in a case contested by a parent or parents would unconstitutionally infringe on those rights, and would serve the best interest of the child in maintaining “healthy, stable relationships with a person who has served in a significant, judicially approved parental role” [Fam.C. § 3105(a)]. That’s why it is best to work with a lawyer who is an expert in Family Law to know the best course of action regarding nonparent visitation.