What Is Supervised Visitation?
While family courts are generally in favor of ensuring that both parents have regular access to their children following a divorce, frequent contact with one of the parties is not always in the child’s best interests. If, for example, one of a child’s parents had a history of domestic violence or neglect, courts would not order shared parenting time. In other situations, where visitation is not denied outright, courts that are still wary of ordering shared custody may decide to impose supervised visitation, which allows a child to have contact with a parent, while also ensuring that he or she is kept safe.
Visitation-related matters must be handled with care, so if you are going through a divorce and have concerns for your child’s safety or are being falsely accused and so have been restricted to supervised visitation, it is imperative to contact a child custody lawyer who can help protect your parental rights, while also defending your child’s best interests.
What Does Supervised Visitation Entail?
Supervised visitation is imposed when there is concern about improper interaction between a parent and child, parental kidnapping, domestic violence, neglect, or drug use. In these situations, parents may still be permitted to have contact with their children, but will only be allowed to visit at a neutral site and in the presence of a monitor.
When supervised visitation is ordered, all visits will be conducted in the presence of a third party who is required to keep the nature and content of the visits confidential. These court appointed individuals are also charged with the following tasks:
- Keeping careful records of each visit;
- Providing instruction and feedback to the parties involved;
- Immediately suspending or terminating a visit if the safety of the parties cannot be guaranteed;
- Ensuring that a court’s instructions are followed;
- Relaying information related to a child’s welfare between the custodial and noncustodial parent;
- Reporting child abuse;
- Testifying in formal court hearings when necessary; and
- Providing community referrals.
Furthermore, while supervised visitation involves in-person visits, courts are also permitted to monitor parents in other ways by taking the following steps:
- Monitoring exchanges of the child between visits;
- Monitoring a parent’s telephone calls with the child; and
- Requiring the parent and child to attend therapy.
Supervised visitation programs also offer a number of services to help enable contact between noncustodial parents and their children, including not only one-to-one supervision, but also group supervision.
Talk to a Child Custody Attorney
There is nothing more important than ensuring that a child is raised in a healthy and stable environment. While this often includes ensuring that a child has regular contact with both parents, this is not always the best solution, especially if there are concerns for the child’s safety. If you have questions about your own visitation schedule or believe that it may need to be modified to allow for supervised visits, please contact dedicated Fort Lauderdale child custody lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 for a free consultation.