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Name: In re Jarred H.
Case #: H025258
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/09/2003
Subsequent History: Rhrg. denied 5/30/03; rev. granted 7/16/03

The juvenile court appointed a legal guardian for the 12 year old minor and his 8 year old brother. It ordered “reasonable visitation” with their mother and terminated dependency. The visitation order gave the guardian discretion to determine time, place, and manner of the visits. Mother appealed, arguing that the court impermissibly delegated its authority to the guardian. The appellate court affirmed the visitation order. The trial court was required to order reasonable visitation absent a finding of detriment. It was required to specify whether visitation would occur, decisions as to time, place, and manner of visits may be delegated. An order which specifies “reasonable” visitation “consistent with the well-being of the minors” is sufficiently clear to provide guidance. Especially with minors the age of the minors here, flexibility is important. A workable visitation order with more specificity would be difficult to craft. The mother was not without remedy should the guardians abuse the discretion the courts have granted them, as mother may call on the juvenile court to modify the visitation order even after dependency jurisdiction has terminated. [Editor’s note: this issue is currently pending before the Supreme Court in In re S.D.]