How Does Supervised Child Visitation Work?

Every divorce in which there are children involved navigates a sensitive and sometimes complicated route toward ensuring that both parents continue to play essential roles in their child’s upbringing.

Depending on the relationship between the two spouses and the reasons for their divorcing, one spouse may be granted sole custody or both parents may get joint custody. 

But in cases where one parent’s fitness is questioned by the court, their ability to spend time with their child may need to be supervised. This is often the case in which a parent has prior or current issues with alcohol or substance abuse, or there are allegations of abuse or domestic violence.

If you are getting divorced and wonder how does supervised visitation work, then this guide will help shed some light on the topic, so you can have a better understanding of what to expect.

What is Supervised Child Visitation?

When the court rules that a parent can only see their child through supervised visitation, this means that the parent is only allowed to visit with their child under the supervision of another individual. Depending on the court’s ruling, the supervising party could be another family member or a social worker. 

Supervised visits usually take place at the parent’s home or in a facility that has been designated by the court as the meeting place, such as a childcare center. 

How Long Does a Supervised Visitation Order Last?

Depending on the situation, a judge may order supervised visitation temporarily or indefinitely. For instance, if a parent is facing allegations of drug or alcohol abuse or domestic violence, then a judge may order temporary supervised visits until the allegations have been fully investigated. Should the investigation prove the allegations are true, then the judge can order the supervised visits to be indefinite.

In these types of cases, visitation will remain supervised until the parent can demonstrate that there has been a change in circumstances and their fitness. Examples of this can include the parent attending a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program, attending therapy or an anger management program, or receiving the appropriate mental health treatment.

What is the Primary Purpose of Supervised Child Visitation?

The primary purpose of supervised visitation is to ensure that a parent who isn’t granted joint custody of their child can maintain contact with their child. But only in a structured environment that is deemed safe and comfortable for the child. Above all else, supervised visitation is designed to protect the safety of the child.

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