During a divorce or child custody dispute, the court typically makes the ruling regarding parents’ access to the child or children. The judge may grant the non-custodial parent unsupervised quality time or overnight visitation with the children. However, there are instances where the court may decide that this unsupervised access with minor children is not in the children’s best interest.
What is supervised visitation?
Supervised visitation provides a structured setting for the non-custodial parent to maintain contact with their children. These supervised visits occur in the presence of a third party or at a facilitated visitation site that lessens the risk of conflict between parents. Supervised visitation isn’t meant to punish the non-custodial parent—rather, it’s to assist the parent in fostering a relationship with their child in the presence of a professional who can intervene to ensure appropriate parent and child interactions.
Unfortunately, some parents while in the process of separating or divorcing may need to arrange monitored child access if they are unable to interact with each other without conflict, or if the primary custodial parent has concerns with their own safety or the safety of their children. In child custody cases like these, the court may rule in the child’s best interest and order a supervised visitation schedule, either temporarily or indefinitely.
What kinds of supervised visitation programs are available?
Facilitated visitation programs offer a variety of services. Talk to your Columbia family lawyer to decide what would be most advantageous for you and your family. Available programs may include:
- One-on-one supervision, with one supervisor assigned to one family
- Group supervision, with supervision of several families at a time
- Monitored exchanges, where visitation is unsupervised but the child’s transitions between custodial and non-custodial parents is supervised
- Telephone monitoring, where phone calls from the non-custodial parent to the child are monitored
- Parent education
- Family therapy and counseling
When is supervised visitation necessary?
There are a number of different circumstances under which a judge may order monitored or supervised access to a minor child or children. Supervised visitation might be ordered when a non-custodial parent:
- Has a drug or alcohol abuse issue
- Is physically, verbally, or mentally abusive to the children
- Does not have the proper or necessary parenting skills to keep the children safe
- Cannot maintain a stable and primary residence
- Exhibits violent or irrational behavior
- Has a history of sexual abuse towards minors
- Has a history of fleeing with minors
The Columbia child custody attorneys at McCabe Russell, PA can help you reach a child custody agreement, or modify an existing agreement that no longer works for you or your children. If you and your ex-spouse can’t come to closure, we will fight tenaciously for you in court to protect the rights of your family. To speak with an experienced lawyer, please call 443-917-3347 or fill out our contact form. We also maintain offices in Rockville, Bethesda and Fulton.