Supervised Visitation: The Good The Bad And The Truth [Updated 2022]

About once a week, we get a client demanding that their ex endure supervised visitation.

The reality?

Judges don’t hand out visitation like candy. 

Supervised visitation is the exception, not the rule in custody cases.
It often takes a rare circumstance for a judge to order supervised visitation. 

Get answers to your most asked questions about supervised visitation here.

Supervised visitation, what is it?

Supervised visitation is a type of visitation. It allows the non-custodial parent to maintain contact with their children. But, their contact occurs in a controlled setting. 

Why would a judge consider supervised visitation?

A judge may ask for a parent to have supervised visits if they could be a danger to their child. 
The judge might do this if the parent was using drugs like cocaine or meth so the child can be safe and still see their parent. Supervised visits are about keeping kids away from risky things and ensuring that parents still get to spend time with their children safely which can get tricky with unsupervised visits. 
Mental illness is also something a judge will consider when making these decisions.

Who supervises the visits if a judge if I have to have my visits supervised?

There are many types of supervised visitation
In Nevada, the most restrictive is visitation that occurs at the Courthouse. It gets run through programs called Donna’s House or Child Haven.
If a judge is considering having visits supervised, a social worker watches over it.
Also, both parents go through an orientation to discuss visitation rules.
And keep in mind… there are usually lots of rules. For example, the supervised non-custodial parent may not be able to bring gifts for the child or food to the visitation. 
Finally, these types of visits usually need both parties to make payments at the time of each visit.

What if supervision gets ordered but not at a courthouse or through a formal program?

Your judge may order a friend or family member to be the supervisor.
These visits can usually occur at a park, a restaurant, or other community settings.
The supervisor is usually someone both parents approve of.
The judge may restrict your activities with the child during the visitation.
For example, the judge may say that you can only visit with the child at the supervisor’s home.
Or the judge may say, the supervisor must provide line of sight supervision.
This means that the supervisor must be able to see you and the child at all times during the visitation.
Finally, a judge might also consider community visitation. This means that the parent does not need a specific supervisor to watch visitation. The visits between parent and child must occur in a public place, usually a restaurant.

Why will a judge order my visitation to get supervised?

Judges order supervised visitation for many different reasons. 
Child safety is usually the biggest reason. 
For instance, if a parent has a known drug or alcohol problem, it’s likely the judge will order it. 
If you cannot provide suitable living arrangements, it’s likely supervision will get ordered. For example, if a parent is homeless or resides somewhere that is not safe for the children.
If the parent and child don’t know each other very well . . . you guessed it! Supervised visits. 
In these circumstances, the judge could order supervision in a therapist’s office. Supervised visits for short periods by a friend so the child gets to know the parent is another way. Establishing the parent-child bond is critical when trying to lift any supervision requirements.  
Each case depends on the facts and is up to the judge.

Why should a parent think twice about requesting supervised visitation?

The bottom line?
Court supervision sucks. 
It occurs at the Courthouse and is NOT fun for kids
It places your children under a microscope and is uncomfortable for everyone involved. 
Second, long-term court-ordered supervised visits are expensive. You pay for each supervised visit. If court-supervised visits occur many times a week, it gets expensive. 
Parents requesting visitation should consider requesting Court supervised visits. It’s also wise to discuss the pros and cons of their specific case with an attorney.
Visitation supervised by a friend or family member should also get considered. 
Present the friend/family member supervisor to the judge and have them vetted at court.
You need to be sure your proposed supervisor is able to accommodate the visits. Judges don’t like it when a parent proposes someone to supervise and they cancel visits.

When can I get my supervised visits changed?

It depends on the facts of your case.
A safety concern, like drug abuse, as well as alcohol abuse, needs you to provide evidence that is no longer an issue.
An estranged relationship with your child requires you to:
  • prove you and the child now have a good relationship,
  • that the child is not afraid or timid around you,
  • and that you can care for the child outside of a supervised setting.

How do I explain to the Judge that my case needs to have supervised visitation for the other parent?

Make certain that your case warrants having the other parent get supervised visits.
Never demand supervision because you want the other parent to jump through hoops. The judge will consider you unreasonable and your request will get denied.
Your case should have some element of child safety concerns.
  • For example, drug use by the other parent. 
  • As another example, CPS gets involved with your ex and your children. 
  • The other parent is homeless or does not have accommodations for the children. Tell the judge why your case should be one where visits should warrant supervision.


When should I call a lawyer?

Talk to a lawyer if you are the parent making the request that the other parent’s visits get supervised. 
Talk to the attorney about the specific facts of your case. The lawyer will provide guidance to help you get the best possible outcome for you and your children.
If you are being ordered to have your visits supervised, call a lawyer.
Questions about supervised visits? 
Get answers now!

More Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare for supervised visitation?

  • Discuss rules and expectations with the supervisor beforehand. Know the schedule, location, activities allowed and their role.
  • Bring age-appropriate toys, books, and games to engage with your child during the visit.
  • Remain focused on spending quality time with your child during the visit. Don’t argue with the supervisor.

What if I can’t afford supervised visitation?

  • Ask the court to appoint a volunteer supervisor such as a family member, friend, or court-appointed advocate.
  • Request visits occur in free locations like a park rather than a professional facility.
  • File for a fee waiver or reduction if using an experienced supervisor.
  • Consider reaching an agreement with the other parent on a mutual supervisor.

How do I progress from supervised to unsupervised visitation?

  • Consistently follow all terms of the visits and court orders to build trust.
  • Communicate regularly with the supervisor for feedback on the visits.
  • Slowly increase visit duration and expand activities as appropriate.
  • File motions periodically requesting expanded visitation based on progress.

How often are supervised visits granted?

  • It depends on jurisdiction, but estimates range from 10% to 30% of custody cases involving some level of supervision.
  • It is more common when abuse, neglect, or substance abuse exists versus just a contentious relationship.

What if the supervisor cancels our visit at the last minute?

  • Both parents should have the supervisor’s contact information to verify visits.
  • Ask about rescheduling the visit or using an alternate supervisor.
  • If there is a pattern of cancellations, inform your attorney to address it with the court.



Supervised Visitation

Court-ordered parenting time where a neutral third party monitors the visit between a child and parent.


The neutral third party appointed to monitor the supervised visit. It can be a professional or layperson.

Safety Plan

Rules established by the court to ensure supervision effectively protects the child’s physical and emotional well-being.

Line-of-Sight Supervision

Requirement that the supervisor directly visually monitor the child and parent at all times during the visit.

Therapeutic Supervision

Supervision by a licensed mental health professional to facilitate relationship-building between child and parent.

Reunification Therapy

Type of therapeutic supervision focused on safely reestablishing a relationship after prolonged parent-child separation.

Risk Factors

Issues like substance abuse, mental illness, or a history of violence may risk a child’s safety during unsupervised contact.

Graduated Visitation Schedule

Court order gradually increase a parent’s time with a child from fully supervised to unsupervised.

Parenting Capacity Evaluation

A psychologist conducts a formal assessment to evaluate a parent’s ability to care for a child safely.

Failure to Protect

When a custodial parent is aware of risk factors but still allows unsupervised contact with the at-risk parent.

Ex Parte Request

Emergency legal requests to suspend visitation, usually due to immediate safety concerns.

Contempt of Court

A parent violating a visitation order may result in sanctions like suspension of visits.

Best Interests of the Child

The legal standard guiding all custody and visitation decisions is based on a child’s safety and well-being.

Ask an Attorney

Our lead attorney, Molly Rosenblum, Esq answers tough legal questions in these videos.

Does the Court Consider Domestic Violence in a Custody Case?

Can a Child Have a Say in Custody Decisions?

Does a Parent's Sexual Orientation Affect Child Custody in Nevada?

What is a Parenting Plan?

Can Substance Abuse Affect Your Custody Case?

More Resources for You

Make sure to explore our other informative posts as well:

  1. Do You Have Child Custody Questions?” – This post addresses common questions and concerns related to child custody, providing helpful information and guidance.

  2. How Do You Win a Custody Battle in Nevada?” – This post offers strategies and tips for increasing your chances of success in a custody battle in Nevada, providing valuable insights into the factors considered by the court.

  3. How Much is a Custody Lawyer?” – This post provides information about the cost considerations associated with hiring a custody lawyer, helping you understand the potential expenses involved.

  4. Reasons a Mother Can Lose Custody in Las Vegas” – This post discusses common reasons why a mother may lose custody in Las Vegas or similar jurisdictions, highlighting factors that can impact custody decisions.

  5. What Not To Say In Child Custody Mediation” – This post offers guidance on what to avoid saying during child custody mediation, helping you navigate the process effectively and protect your interests.

  6. What Happens At First Custody Hearings In Nevada” – This post provides an overview of what to expect at the first custody hearing in Nevada, shedding light on the process and proceedings.

  7. The Mediation Advantage: Cost-Effective Mediation For Divorce And Custody Cases” – This post explores the advantages of mediation in divorce and custody cases, highlighting its cost-effectiveness and potential benefits for resolving disputes.

  8. How to Get Child Custody from a Narcissist in Las Vegas” – This post offers strategies and insights for navigating a child custody battle with a narcissistic co-parent in Las Vegas or similar jurisdictions.

  9. Does My New Spouse Income Count for Child Support” – This post discusses whether the income of a new spouse is considered when calculating child support, providing clarity on this important aspect.

  10. Tips for Family Mediation” – This post offers valuable tips and suggestions for successful family mediation, providing guidance on how to navigate the process and work towards a fair resolution.

We encourage readers to explore these resources to gain valuable insights and guidance.

A Special Message from Our Lead Attorney

Molly Rosenblum, Esq

Thank you for taking the time to review the supervised visitation resources I’ve provided.

Experienced Legal Counsel

My team and I have extensive experience with supervised visitation cases. We work closely with each client to understand their unique circumstances and goals.

Customized Legal Strategies

We develop effective legal strategies tailored to each client’s specific needs.

Discuss Your Situation

If you would benefit from personalized legal counsel regarding supervised visitation, please call my firm at (702) 433-2889 to discuss your situation in more detail.

Skilled Representation

We offer skilled representation for clients seeking supervised visitation or responding to requests.

Here to Help

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions.

My team and I look forward to helping you through this challenging process.

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