Supervised Visitation: When Is It Best for the Child?

Supervised Visitation: When Is It Best for the Child? by Joshua Katz

{2:10 minutes to read} Normally, a child’s best interests are best protected by allowing the development of the fullest possible healthy relationship with both parents. However, if one parent places the child’s physical safety at risk, or the parent is having some other kind of negative impact on the child’s emotional well-being, supervision of visitation can be imposed.

In rare cases, one parent will gain custody while the other parent is only granted supervised access to the child. If the court has set forth such restrictions, there should be time durations and conditions to be met — to convince the court there has been a change in circumstances. A change in circumstances means a rehabilitation of whatever weakness in parenting skills the court determined existed at the trial, in order to afford the non-custodial parent an opportunity to regain normalized visitation rights.

To illustrate compliance with the restrictions, you must show that:

  • Some relevant period of time has elapsed;
  • You have been rehabilitated, fixing whatever weakness you had;
  • You are in compliance with the court’s recommendations, such as behavioral therapy or parenting skill classes;
  • You are ready, which includes testimonials from significant persons who can verify that you have improved; and
  • It’s in the best interest of the child to now have unsupervised, normal visitation with you.

The important thing is not to re-argue the issues from the original custody trial, but to show that, since the trial, there has been a subsequent change of circumstances, so that the modification in custody would be in the best interest of the child.

It is a very strict standard for a court to restrict reasonable rights of visitation. They can only do so in situations where there is substantial evidence that visitation would be detrimental to the child. Supervisors can be restricted to trained mental health professionals in a therapeutic setting only, or to a friend or relative who must be present during visits. Regardless, supervision undoubtedly interferes with the parent-child relationship.

Have your rights been restricted? What do you believe your ex-spouse’s rights should be?

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