Family courts in California strive to protect the best interests of children whose parents have a custody or visitation order. To maintain the protection and safety of the child, a judge may order that a child only has contact with a parent when a neutral third person is present during the visitation. This type of visitation arrangement is known as supervised visitation. Typically, the court order will specify the time and duration of the visits and who will provide the supervised visitation services and where the visits will take place.
When is Supervised Visitation Ordered?
Some of the reasons that supervised visitation may be ordered include parenting concerns or mental illness, a parental threat of abduction, history or allegations of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, or substance abuse by a parent. In these scenarios, it is advisable to speak to a family law attorney to ensure that the visitation order considers these problems and helps ensure the safety of the child.
Visiting Parent Tips
As the visiting parent, being with your children in the presence of someone else may be uncomfortable, but your patience and commitment are important during this time. Successful supervised visitations can happen when you understand the court order. Take the time to read it before the day of visitation. To maintain your supervised visitation it is important that you arrive and depart on time. While it is important that you focus on your relationship with your children you should not discuss the divorce, court case, or terms of the visit with your children. Stay focused on your child and do not quiz your children about the other parent’s activities and relationships. Always end the visit on a positive note.
Custodial Parent Tips
If you are the custodial parent you may have several concerns about supervised visitation. For instance, you may have concerns and questions about the visits and how they will affect your children. Additionally, you may be concerned about the extra time and effort in addition to taking care of your children’s everyday needs and their personal and family routines. There are several steps you can take to make the process go smoothly for your child. To begin with, have a clear understanding of the court order so you can explain to your children where and when the visits will take place. Make sure your children are ready with anything they will need during the visit, including medicine and other needed items. Arrive on time to drop off and pick up your children and let them know that you support them in having a fun and safe visit with the other parent.
Changing the Visitation Order
It is important for both parents to understand that any changes made to the supervised visitation order should be done by filing the appropriate documents in Sacramento family court. You may also meet with a mediator who can assist you in reaching an agreement that can be filed in court and become an order.
Supervised visitation can be difficult and awkward at times, and in some cases entail negative feelings toward the other parent. It may be tough at times to have a positive attitude about supervised visitation, but the goal is to put your children’s best interests ahead of your personal feelings so they can benefit from having both parents in their lives.
If you need more information on supervised visitation contact a family attorney who can address specific concerns and advise you on your rights and responsibilities for supervised visitation.