Supervised visitation enables the non-custodial parent to visit his or her child in the presence of a court-appointed supervisor who is experienced in the field of child healthcare and safety. Supervised visitation is to ensure the physical, mental and emotional safety of the child in the presence of the non-residential parent and to avoid any possible conflicts or fights between both parents in the presence of the child.
Supervised visitation has the following benefits or purposes –
- It allows the non-custodial or non-residential parent to visit the child every so often (time period and frequency will be determined by the court) and maintain a healthy relationship with the child. Even though both parents may have parted ways on good or bad terms it is important for the child to see and interact with the mother and the father. The child shouldn’t be deprived of the advantages of being raised by both parents which is why supervised visitation is helpful.
- Supervised visitation provides a safe, conflict-free environment for the child as well as to both parents especially if there are still unresolved disputes and arguments between both parents post the divorce. Supervised visitation puts the child out of any possible risks or threats and keeps the child safe, healthy and happy. It is important for the child to not be exposed to the feuds and fights between both parents and shouldn’t see the parents show hatred and resentment to one another.
- Supervised visitation is helpful to both the parents as well as the child. The visiting parent can enjoy his or her time with the child without being confronted or disturbed by the other parent since the court supervisor or child professional will be present. And the child’s safety and well-being are ensured too, in case the visiting parent has a history of physical abuse, violent, an alcohol problem, etc.
Supervised visitation is often ordered by the court if the parents are getting divorced and if the judge believes that their child’s welfare may be endangered in case of conflict or any other kind of high-risk situations. These restricted visits allow the child to maintain a relationship with the noncustodial parent in a safe environment.
Supervised visitation involves the presence of the custodial parent or a qualified adult who will oversee the interaction between the noncustodial parent and the child. This ensures that the child’s safety is not jeopardized during the visit. It also eliminates any possibility for inappropriate conversation or activity.
The Need for Supervised Visitation
Restricted visitations are ordered by the court in case of any of the following situations:
• The noncustodial parent is known to have a history of alcohol or drug abuse
• There is threat of sexual, physical, or mental abuse
• There is a chance the child may be kidnapped by the noncustodial parent
• The noncustodial parent has been convicted of crime
• The noncustodial parent has threatened to commit suicide
• The noncustodial parent has shown signs or has been diagnosed with a severe mental illness
• The noncustodial parent had neglected the child earlier
Besides the child’s best interests, the judge will also take factors that may endanger his or her physical, mental, and moral health into consideration. The noncustodial parent may also have to attend anger management therapy and parenting classes in case they are known to have a history of being abusive or neglectful. He or she may also need to receive counseling as part of the judge’s order.
Although supervised visitation may sometimes seem unnecessary, it is used to ensure that the child’s safety is never compromised. With many cases of parents kidnapping their own children and other risky situations, supervised visitation has become necessary for many divorced couples.
When two parents are getting divorced and one parent is given sole custody of the children, the judge usually orders that the other parent gets supervised visitation rights. This means that the parent who is not given sole custody of the child can visit the child or children at periodic intervals of time depending on the agreement reached upon between the judge and the parents. The judge will also order professionals who are trained in child care and divorce situations to be present at the time of these visits to supervise or oversee the time of visit.
Supervised visitation is recommended when both parents cannot see eye to eye after the divorce or if one parent has certain mental issues, substance abuse issues or has been physically violent in the past. This is to ensure the safety of the other parent and the children during the visit.
If you are the visiting parent, here are some important do’s and don’ts during supervised visitation –
• Be on time and follow only the schedule set by the court and try not to cancel visits.
• Spend quality time with the children, show them your good side even if you’ve had a bad day. Be patient with the child, ask them questions about school and how their day went.
• Be nice to your ex-spouse and show a positive attitude towards them in front of your child.
• Bring toys, games, and books that your children might like. Make sure that the time that you spend with them is enjoyable.
• Never criticize the other custodial parent during your visits. Always maintain a friendly, neutral and positive attitude towards the other parent.
• Never bring up the divorce in front of your children.
• Never let the children feel that it is their fault that you and your spouse got divorced.
• Never make promises that you can’t keep.
Supervised visitation can work for all parties involved, but patience and kindness can go a long way toward making it work.
The New Hampshire Parenting Support Center’s (NHPSC) main objective is to assist families in difficult divorce transitions by providing them with a potential setting for neutral, supervised visitation. This week, we are addressing the benefits in using these impartial settings for supervised visitations for children and parents.
Typically, children are the main reason for people to use visitation centers. Most of these programs aim to provide a welcoming, fun and safe environment for the family unit. The unbiased atmosphere gives children the chance to be excited about visitations, since anxiety and potential parental confrontations are avoided. The visit becomes about maintaining the relationship, and not about the court proceedings. Seeing both parents help children to adjust positively in the divorce process, even with the family dissolution.
The parents benefit from supervised visitations also. Visitation details are typically made through agencies, so the parents do not have to have any direct contact with each other. This can be a stress reducer in a highly stressful situation. In heated divorce hearings, supervised visitations are often sought because the parents can visit with the children without worries that false allegations will be presented in the divorce proceedings. Case notes may be written and can potentially be used as character witness reports.
Using a professional third-party visitation agency, such as New Hampshire Parenting Support Center, is beneficial over using a friend or relative. Using someone you know can put strain on the relationship. It may also be hard for your ex-spouse and you to agree on the same person. A third-party agency will provide unbiased, and properly documented, support. Your lawyer may have resources for local agencies that specialize in supervised visitations. If they are court mandated, it is recommended your lawyer and potential visitation agency both review the visitation documents to make sure all needs are properly met.