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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.
 
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Conclusion

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!
 
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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.

 

The word "Glossary" in large, bold letters to mark the start of a section defining key terms and concepts.

Glossary

Supervised Visitation

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

Supervisor

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.

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More Resources for You

For those navigating the complexities of family law in Las Vegas, our lead attorney, Molly Rosenblum Allen, Esq., has developed an array of valuable resources to assist you during challenging times. Here’s a collection of these resources, each designed to provide guidance and support specific to your needs:

  • Las Vegas Custody Attorney: Navigating child custody can be one of the most challenging aspects of family law. Find comprehensive support and legal advice at Las Vegas Child Custody Attorney.

  • Fathers Rights: Dads seeking to understand and advocate for their rights can find essential information at Fathers Rights

  • Changing Custody Agreement: For those looking to modify their custody agreement, get the facts tailored for Nevadans at Changing Custody Agreement.

  • Grandparents Rights Nevada: Grandparents seeking to understand their legal rights can find specialized guidance at Grandparents Rights Nevada.

  • Long Distance Co-Parenting: Long-distance co-parenting comes with its unique set of challenges. Get informed at Long Distance Co-Parenting.

  • How a Mother Can Lose a Custody Battle: Mothers concerned about the pitfalls that could affect their custody rights can learn more at How a Mother Can Lose a Custody Battle.

  • Custody Battle Tips for Nevadans: Prepare yourself with strategies and insights specifically for Nevadans engaged in a custody battle at Custody Battle Tips for Nevadans.

  • What Not To Say In Child Custody Mediation: Words matter, especially in mediation. Discover what to avoid saying at What Not To Say In Child Custody Mediation.

  • How Much is a Custody Lawyer: Understanding the costs involved in hiring a custody lawyer is crucial. Get the facts at How Much is a Custody Lawyer.

  • Types of Custody: Learn about the different types of custody to understand what might be best for your situation at Types of Custody.

  • At What Age Can a Child Decide to Stop Visitation: If you’re wondering about a child’s agency in visitation decisions, find answers at At What Age Can a Child Decide to Stop Visitation.


Each resource is curated with the expertise of Molly Rosenblum Allen, Esq., to bring clarity and direction to your family law matters.

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Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful

Here are some resources that can provide more information and support for those interested in understanding supervised visitation:

  1. Avvo – Family Lawyers: Avvo provides a directory of family lawyers, along with user ratings and reviews, who can assist in cases involving supervised visitation.

  2. Justia – Family Law Lawyers: Justia also provides a directory of family law attorneys, including those specializing in child custody and visitation.

  3. Child Welfare Information Gateway: This site provides information and resources on child welfare, including supervised visitation. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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A Special Message from Our Lead Attorney

Headshot of Molly Rosenblum Allen, attorney at law, with long blond hair and wearing a black blazer. Molly Rosenblum Allen is the founder and managing attorney of Rosenblum Allen Law.

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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