1. What is child visitation?
Child visitation is a period of time set aside where a child can spend time with their non-custodial parent. Visitation is scheduled for the children and the parent who does not have legal or full physical custody of them. Visitation schedules may be set up by parents as part of their marital settlement agreement. They can also be decided by a judge during divorce proceedings.
2. Why is child visitation necessary?
It’s important for children to have a healthy relationship with both parents, even after they have divorced. Children need strong role models in their lives. They should be able to confide in each parent whenever they want. Visitation can help to improve and strengthen those bonds as the children continue to grow and mature.
Each parent should be allowed equal time with their children. No parent should have an unfair advantage over the other. That’s why visitation schedules are developed. They allow both parents to continue to play important roles in their children’s lives.
3. What is supervised child visitation?
Supervised child visitation is visitation sessions that are held with a neutral third party being present at each session. Supervision may be necessary depending on the particular situation. The third-party will be thoroughly vetted before being assigned by the court to monitor those visits.
4. Where are supervised visits held?
Most supervised visitation is held at a neutral location, such as a community center or day care facility, for example. They may be at the home of a grandparent, aunt, uncle or other relative to the child or children in question. The court will typically approve the location before the first visitation session begins.
It’s possible that the location may change over time. If the community center closes or the relative sells their home, you may need to find another site. You should inform the court as soon as you’re aware of this possibility, so that another neutral site can be found and reviewed quickly.
5. Why would child visitation be supervised?
Supervision may be necessary if the non-custodial parent has had a history of violence or abuse toward their children or spouse. You can ask for supervision if your former partner has anger or addiction issues or are genuinely concerned about the safety and general well-being of your child. Each request will be evaluated before a judge will determine whether or not to allow those visits to be supervised.
6. How do I know that my child will be safe during those visits?
Staff members and court-appointed supervisors should have years of experience in working with couples who are going through divorce or separation. They will make every effort to ensure that the child is never placed in harm’s way. They may also step in if needed to begin or promote healthy dialogue between the parent and child. Inappropriate actions will be reported.
7. Are monitored exchanges the same as supervised child visitation?
Supervised child visitation and monitored exchanges aren’t identical to one another. Supervised visitation is visitation sessions that are monitored by a third party at a neutral spot (excluding the homes where the parents currently reside). Monitored exchanges let one parent drop off their child at a community center or other similar type of location. Children who are dropped off are then picked up by the other parent for visitation. Those visitation appointments are not supervised.
8. How can I ask for supervised child visitation?
If you have reason to believe that your former spouse has neglected or abused your child, you can petition the court for supervised child visitation. There must be a significant cause for concern before the request will be granted. You can’t ask for supervised child visitation just because you don’t like the other partner’s parenting skills or because you feel that they’re not focusing on the child’s academics, for example.
You’ll usually be asked to provide evidence that can support your claims. Hospital or police records may be provided. The judge will use all information that is received in evaluating your request before making a decision.
9. What happens if a visitation appointment is missed?
Visitation schedules are meant to be flexible. It’s inevitable that one or more sessions may be missed due to medical emergencies, inclement weather or other reasons. If a visitation appointment is missed, the parent should notify the appropriate individual of that. This may be the person who supervises their visitation sessions or the other parent. Parents may need to work together to rearrange their schedules when that happens.
10. Do I have to pay for supervised visitation?
Each center is different. Some of them are available to use at no charge. Others may have a flat hourly, weekly or monthly rate. The non-custodial parent could be charged an hourly fee for each hour that they spend with their child at that facility. Centers could mandate a fee that both parents must pay in advance.
You may want to do a little research about those facilities before setting up supervised visitation. Go online or call them to find out what fees, if any, they have. You may even be able to pay in advance or set up a billing schedule.
Divorce is disruptive. It will require changes to school and work schedules in many cases. Children may split time between parents’ homes. They could change schools and spend less time with their friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles and others who are close to them.
If you have questions regarding child visitation, we’ve got answers. Contact us today to set up a free consultation that works around your busy schedule. Our trained professionals will listen to what you have to say and address your concerns. They will make recommendations for possible next steps and can represent you in court if you wish.
Our main goal is to help you get back on track. This won’t be easy. It’s going to take some concentrated time and effort. Things will never return to the way they were before the divorce, but you’ll probably be back to enjoying life again before you know it.