It is thought that children of divorced parents should have a close relationship with both parents, regardless of their parents no longer living together. The court wants to ensure that custody and visitation agreements follow an overall credo – to keep the best interest of the child at the forefront. Sometimes, however, a parent's behavior steps over the line and may be harming the child. The court will take actions to restrict visitation with a parent who is negligent, abusive, or irresponsible with their duties to feed, clothe, educate, and tend to the well-being of their child. To find out what might happen to the visitation schedules of parents who are shown to be less than fit, read on.
What to Know About Supervised Visitation
The courts have the right to impose visitation restrictions on parents that limit the time, frequency, and the privacy of their interactions with their children. When supervised visitation is ordered, the court orders that the child be allowed to spend time with the non-custodial parent only if another party is present.
Owing to the potential for adversary, that person is not usually the other parent unless there is no alternative. The supervising party may be a relative, a friend, a neighbor, a social worker, or others. The supervised visits are often held in neutral (and preferably public) locations like a park, a restaurant, a sporting event, or the home of a relative. For practical purposes, these visits are of relatively short duration and never take place overnight.
Why Would Supervised Visitation Be Ordered?
Since supervised visitation is an alternative to losing parental rights altogether, the reasons why this form of visitation is ordered are associated with serious and proven behavior by the parent, like:
- Child abuse
- Mental illness of the parent
- Emotional abuse of the child
- Substance abuse
- Criminal activities
- Sexual misconduct
- The potential for an abduction
Imposing Restrictions on Visitation
If the parent's behavior is not serious enough to meet the standards for supervised visits, the family court judge may impose other restrictions on the non-custodial parent, such as:
- No overnight visits
- No alcohol or drug use during visits
- Shorter visits
- Parent is not allowed to drive the child (another driver must be present)
- Restrictions on how far away the parent can take the child from the custodial home
- Restricting the locations the parent can go with the child (such as no visits to certain homes or neighborhoods)
- Restricting who else may be present during the visits
- Ordering the parent to attend substance treatment, mental health counseling, anger management training, etc, as a condition of visitation.
If you are having problems with your visitation plan and the non-custodial parent, speak to your divorce attorney at once about the above restrictions.