About once a week, we get a client demanding that their ex endure supervised visitation.
Judges don’t just hand out visitation like candy.
It is important to remember that supervised visitation is the exception, not the rule for custody cases.
It often takes a rare and very specific circumstance for a judge to order supervised visitation.
Get answers to your frequently asked questions about supervised visitation here.
What is supervised visitation?
Supervised visitation is a type of visitation. It allows a non-custodial parent to maintain their constitutional rights to have contact with their children. However, their contact occurs in a controlled setting.
Why would a judge consider supervised visitation?
A judge will consider it if a parent is unsafe to be around their child.
For example, if a parent is abusing methamphetamine, it is likely the judge will order supervised visits. Having a parent high on meth around their child is unsafe unless someone is there to protect the child.
Think of it this way . . .
Generally, supervised visitation is protecting children from potentially dangerous situations. At the same time, it allows parents access to their children in a safe setting.
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 through a program called Donna’s House or at Child Haven. Again, this is the most restrictive type of visitation and is only ordered in rare circumstances.
If a judge is considering having visits supervised at Child Haven or Donna’s house, VA social worker, who is paid to observe visits, watches the interaction between parent and child.
In addition, both parents go through an orientation to discuss visitation rules.
And keep in mind… there are usually lots of rules. For example, the supervised parent may not be able to bring gifts for the child or food to the visitation.
Finally, these types of visits usually require both parties to make payments each time a visit occurs.
What if my visits have to be supervised but not at a courthouse or through a formal program?
If your judge is considering an alternative to formal, court-supervised visitation, a 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.
In some cases, the judge may restrict your activities with the child even if a family member or friend is supervising the visitation.
For example, the judge may say that you can only visit with the child at the supervisor’s home with the supervisor present.
Or the judge may say, the supervisor must provide line of sight supervision.
This means that the supervisor (friend or family member) 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 but the visits between parent and child must occur in a public place, usually a restaurant.
Why will a judge order my visitation to be supervised?
Judges order supervised visitation for a number of 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 a parent does not have suitable living arrangements for a child, it’s likely the judge will have visits supervised. 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 or supervised visits for a short period by a friend or family member so the child gets to know the parent. 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 just generally uncomfortable for everyone involved.
Second, long term court-ordered supervised visits are expensive. Basically, you pay for each supervised visit. If court-supervised visits occur multiple times a week, or if visits are happening over a long period of time, it gets expensive.
Parents requesting visitation should seriously consider requesting Court supervised visits and should discuss the pros and cons of their specific case with an attorney.
Visitation supervised by a friend or family member should also be carefully considered.
Present the friend/family member supervisor to the judge and have them fully vetted at court.
If your proposed supervisor has a criminal history or if there are hard feelings between the proposed supervisor and the other parent, chances are the Court will not approve them to supervise.
In addition, 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 the supervisor is constantly cancelling visits.
When can I get my supervised visits changed?
It depends on the facts of your case.
How do I explain to the Judge that my case needs to have supervised visitation for the other parent?
Make absolutely certain that your case is one where having the other parent be supervised during visitation is appropriate.
If you are simply demanding supervision because you want the other parent to have to jump through hoops to see the children, the judge will consider you unreasonable and it is highly likely your requests will be denied.
Your case should have some element of child safety concerns.
- For example, you are concerned about drug use by the other parent.
- As another example, CPS is 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 is one where visits should be supervised.
When should I call a lawyer?
Talk to a lawyer if you are the parent making the request that the other parent’s visits be 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!
Call us today at (702) 433-2889 or submit your questions on-line through our on-line form.