How Supervised Visitation Works
California courts determine child custody and visitation issues according to the best interests of the child. Generally, it is the state’s policy that the best interests of the child are served by the child having frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the divorce. However, the nature of that contact may vary, as it is also the state’s policy to protect children from abuse and violence. In some cases, courts require visitation with the non-custodial parent to be supervised, as a Stockton child visitation lawyer explains below.
What Is Supervised Visitation?
Visitation comes in several varieties. When there is conflict between the parents, the court may resolve it by ordering visitation on a schedule. When the parents are willing to be more flexible with each other, courts may order reasonable visitation, which allows the parents to create their own visitation schedules. A third type of visitation — supervised visitation — requires that visitation with the non-custodial parent be supervised by a neutral third party.
When Do Courts Require Supervised Visitation?
There are several reasons why a court may order supervised visitation. In some cases, courts require supervised visitation when there is concern about the health, safety, or wellbeing of the child being left unsupervised with the non-custodial parent. In others, they may do so when the is no pre-existing parent-child relationship. Some of the most common reasons courts order supervised visitation are:
- To give the non-custodial parent an opportunity to address specific issues
- To help reintroduce the parent and the child after a long absence
- To help introduce a parent and child when there was no existing relationship between them
- When there is a history or allegations of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, or substance abuse
- When the non-custodial parent suffers a mental illness
- When there is a threat of child abduction
The court will specify the visitation schedule and, in some cases, may also designate a person to serve as the supervisor.
Who Supervises the Visits?
A supervisor must be a natural third party who is capable of fostering healthy interactions between the parent and child in a safe environment. There are two main types of supervisors: non-professional providers and professional providers. A non-professional provider is usually a friend, family member, or acquaintance who knows both the parent and the child and who is not paid for his or her services. A professional provider works for a visitation agency and is trained in handling domestic violence, child abuse, and substance abuse issues. Both types of providers must meet certain minimum qualifications and adhere to standards of conduct outlined in the California Family Code.
Is it Possible to End Supervised Visits?
Yes. Modifying a child custody or visitation order is possible where the moving party can show that a change in circumstances has occurred since the original order was made. For example, if supervised visitation was ordered because of a substance abuse problem and the non-custodial parent has since recovered, he or she may be able to use the recovery to show a change in circumstances.
Contact a Stockton Child Visitation Lawyer for More Information
For more information about supervised visitation or to modify an existing visitation order, please contact a Stockton child visitation lawyer at McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau by using our online form or calling us at 209-477-8171.