How Can a Court Restrict Visitation?

restrict visitationSupervised visitation or ordinary visitation is granted by the court in cases where the parents are getting divorced or separated and only one parent has been granted sole custody of the child and the other parent is given visitation rights only. Before deciding which parents gets custody of the child the court takes into account the preferences of the child and his happiness, physical and emotional well-being and safety. It also looks at both parents financial background and any history of physical, mental abuse etc.

However, a court can in certain circumstances restrict the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights whether supervised or otherwise –

If the court is satisfied that the visits of the non-custodial parent or the visiting parent are causing harm, stress, anxiety to the child or affecting the child physically, mentally or emotionally in any negative way, the court can stop or restrict visitation rights in the following ways –

  • By shortening the visitation periods – either the length of time spent per visit or reducing the frequency of visits in a week or month.
  • By prohibiting the parent from making overnight visits.
    Prohibiting the parent, if he is alcoholic or drug user, from drinking any alcohol or substances containing alcohol, smoking and using drugs of any kind in front of the child.
  • By disallowing the alcohol/drug addicted/abusive parent from taking the child out of the house or driving with the child or doing any kinds of dangerous activities like swimming, biking or hiking, etc.
    Ordering the addicted/abusive parent to join an AA group or get counseling for his abusive behavior, refer him to doctors, psychologists or psychiatrists, take anger management classes or get any other form of help so that he does not pose a threat to the safety and happiness of the child.

If the parent fails to follow the judge’s orders the judge will deem him unfit and terminate all parental visitation rights permanently.