There are a number of reasons why a court may order that a non-custodial parent's visitation with their child or children be supervised. Some of the most common reasons, but not all, include alcohol and drug problems, the previous commission of physical or verbal abuse by the non-custodial parent against the child or a family member, or mental illness that results in unsafe behavior around the children. A court can also order supervised visitation if they think that the non-custodial parent may take the child and not return them as ordered. Courts generally order supervised visitation when they believe that the behavior of the supervised parent could affect the safety or security of the child. The court places utmost importance on what is in the best interests of the child. There are certain instances when the court could consider the child's preferences.
What exactly is supervised visitation and how does it take place?
Supervised visitation is when a court orders that for the safety and well being of the child or children, that a monitor be appointed to be present during visits by the non-custodial parent with the child. This monitor can either be a neutral party selected by the court or it can be a family member or friend. It can sometimes be in yours and the child's best interest that the monitor be neutral rather than a family member or friend, this just depends on your specific circumstances and the behavioral characteristics that the non-custodial parent is exhibiting. If a court orders that visits be supervised they may take place in a visitation center, or some other designated place. The court will consider all of the circumstances before deciding where, when, how, and for how long supervised visitation should take place.
How long does supervised visitation last?
The answer to this question is difficult to know for sure because this issue is decided by the court. The length of supervised visitation can vary widely given the specific case facts. It is common that a parent will get a phased in or step up plan where a parent completes certain phases before going on to unsupervised visitation.
Should I ask a court for supervised visitation for the child's other parent?
If you think that the other parent's behavior is a bona fide safety issue for the child or that the parent is going to run off with the child and stop you from being able to see them, then it may be wise to ask a court for supervised visits. If you are simply angry at the other parent and are trying to punish them then court's will likely pick up on that. Remember that you can ask a court for visits to be supervised, but the ultimate decision is up to the court who will consider what is best for the child.
Can I have a court order changed if I only have supervised visitation?
You may be able to have your court order changed if there has been a material and substantial change in the circumstances since the court order was rendered. If the reason or reasons for the supervised visitation no longer exist or if the current order is unworkable then it may be a good choice to file a petition with a court asking for a modification of the order's old terms. If you need to set up a child visitation order or would like to investigate your options for obtaining a modification of your old order then I encourage you to give the Law Office of Chad Zubi a call to investigate what the best strategy is for you given your circumstances.
Tags: Child Custody, Visitation
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Chad Zubi Houston Family and Criminal Law Attorney.