Both family law and the decisions of judges in the state of California are heavily weighted towards deciding in the best interests of children. In divorce cases, that often means allowing non-custodial parents to retain the right to visit their children. However, in some cases, certain circumstances may lead to judges restricting contact to supervised visitations.
As the name implies, these visitations occur under the supervision of a neutral third-party that can be a professional (someone who charges a fee for the service) or a nonprofessional (someone who doesn’t charge—typically a family member or friend). Court orders typically specify which type of visitation provider/third-party is allowed.
Why Do Judges Order Supervised Visitations?
As mentioned above, when judges make rulings in family law cases, they do so with the child’s best interests in mind. A few reasons that judges order supervised visitations include:
- To ease the transition process of introducing or re-introducing a parent into a child’s life
- To protect children who have suffered from violence or abuse
- To create a more stable and comfortable environment if the visiting parent suffers from a mental illness
- To prevent criminal acts such as violence or abduction from occurring at the visitation
How Should Parents Handle Supervised Visits?
Supervised visits are difficult for parents and their children. However, they are often temporary, and supervision requirements may be lifted after specific time periods or if a parent shows satisfactory progress to a judge.
Parents can maximize their time with their children during supervised visits by:
- Reading the court order to understand what to expect during the visit
- Sticking to the assigned schedule as much as possible, including prompt arrivals and departures
- Making the visits exclusively about their children and never using them as intermediaries
- Preparing questions, activities, and topics of discussion for their children to keep the visits informative and productive
While visiting parents may feel awkward and uncomfortable meeting with their children in the presence of a third party, custodial parents also may feel concern about the process. Because custodial parents have more time with their children, they can play vital roles in making the visits as pleasant as possible by:
- Preparing their children for the presence of a third party, especially if it’s a professional with no ties to the family
- Giving their children anything they’ll need during the visits, including favorite toys, medications, and homework
- Being supportive of the visits and never discouraging their children from enjoying their time with their other parent
While supervised visits are often temporary, it’s important to remember that only family courts can change these orders. In some cases, courts will relieve the supervised visit restriction if both parents agree to meet with a mediator who can successfully reach a resolution.
Supervised Visit Concerns? Call David C. Stone, Newport Beach’s Family Law Attorney
Supervised visits are among the most difficult aspects of divorces involving children, and both parents may feel levels of discomfort and anxiety over the process.
Whether you’re the custodial or visiting parent, you may have many questions and concerns about why the order was issued and how to change it. The Family Law Office of David C. Stone has years of experience assisting parents in Newport Beach and Anaheim, and we’ll do everything in our power to make sure your parental rights are upheld. Call us today at (866) 774-3237.