Parenting Gone Wrong: Understanding Supervised Visitation

When parents no longer live together, both parents are automatically assumed to have equal rights to spend time with the child. The family court system endeavors to facilitate a healthy relationship between a parent and a child when the parents separate, divorce, or end their relationships, regardless of the wishes of the parents to live separately. Parenting plans allow visitation and custody issues to be codified by the court and turned into orders. When things go wrong, however, those plans may need to be amended. Read on to find out more about why supervised visitation may become an issue and how to deal with it.

Problems with a Parent

When an objection is raised about the fitness of a parent, the matter is bought before the judge. Allegations of wrongdoing must be proven before the judge will disturb a parenting plan.

Regardless of who had physical custody of the child or the visitation schedule, if the parent demonstrates the following behaviors, changes can be made to the plan:

  • Child abuse, domestic violence or sexual abuse (of parent or child).
  • Criminal activity as demonstrated by an arrest report or conviction.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Negligence as demonstrated by child protective services reports.
  • Mental illness
  • Threats or a history of parental kidnapping.
  • Abandonment of the child by the custodial or non-custodial parent.

Less Than a Loss of Parental Rights

When a parenting situation worsens, judges may have no choice but to remove the parental rights of a party. Since that is a radical action, supervised visitation is considered an alternative. It's safer for all concerned, and it's less disruptive for the child. When supervised visitation is ordered, it comes along with some exact and strict rules that must be followed. The frequency, times, dates, circumstances, and privacy are all considered when creating the order that spells out the rules.

Who Supervises the Visitation?

The other parent of the child is almost never tasked with this job owing to the potential for problems between the parents. In most cases, a suitable relative is asked to supervise the non-custodial parent during visitation periods.

Overnight visits are rare with supervised visitation, and public places like parks and restaurants are usually the favored locations to meet. The supervisor will need to maintain visual contact with the child at all times, but they may remain some distance apart from the parent and child nevertheless.

With supervised visitation, there may be an endgame. In many cases, the parent is ordered to attend counseling and classes in an effort to rehabilitate them to be a fit parent. In other cases, the supervised visitation persists for years. For more information, contact a firm that offers family law attorney services such as