Solutions for Supervised Visitation

child being supervised outside on sidewalk

My parents had a custody battle and divorced when I was ten. Although there were some unsettling circumstances in my family, I didn’t grow up spending only an hour a week with one of my parents in a supervised visitation center.  When safety is a concern, using a community-based visitation center may be the best option for a family but unfortunately, many times a center has been seen as the only option.  

By design, visitation centers are community-based agencies that create a safe environment in which children can visit their parents under the direct supervision of a trained professional monitor. This is usually by order of the court in response to a concern for the safety of the children or the other parent.  Supervised visitation is not how you want to parent your children, but it does not have to be a bad experience either.

The typical reasons families might be ordered to obtain supervised visitation services include histories or allegations of; domestic violence, child abuse, mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, extended absences between the parent and child, newly established paternity, among others. 

Given these circumstances, it has been determined there is at least sufficient concern about the safety of any or all of the family members i to restrict contact, particularly between the adult parties.  Erring on the side of safety, supervised visitation is often ordered through a neutral third party for a relatively short period, until further investigation and determinations can be made or the safety threats are eliminated.  This could be 3 months, 6 months or 24 months, depending on the circumstances of the family. 

Center and Community based supervised visitation services while limited in capacity and specialized services are needed to assure those relationships can continue.   They are often organized as non-profits, serving specific geographic and demographic communities commonly seen in social service agencies.   Frequently the non-profit community-based visitation centers will show 70 – 90% of families served are in the low and very low-income brackets - those with the least resources within their reach to secure alternative solutions.  Thankfully, nonprofits are there to fill this need with an affordable fee for service, often subsidizing the cost with grants and the goodwill of individual donations.  This is a critically important service to the community and most centers do good work with the best of intentions.  However, they do not serve every member of the community.

child being supervised on computer by an adult supervisor

What about that 10-30% that are not low income?  We know that the circumstances sending families to visitation centers are not exclusive to the poor.  We know that children still need to see their parents and may need protection, even if they don’t fit the non-profit family service profile.  Why aren’t we seeing this demographic at community based visitation centers? 

The reason is that they are seeking alternatives to community centers for supervised visitation to avoid what may feel publicly embarrassing, stigmatizing, humiliating, unduly restrictive, or even professional suicide.  Ironically, those with the most resources have not been afforded the best solutions. These parents with so much to lose, end up hiring Nanny’s, Home Health Care providers, or even self-proclaimed, un-vetted professional monitors.

Imagine, you had previously been suffering from an addiction to prescription drugs, but have been in recovery and drug free for 3 years.  You now find yourself in a high conflict divorce and custody battle.  Your spouse alleges you have had a relapse.  It is also stated in the motion before the court that the last time you used, you fell asleep on the couch and the kids could not wake you. 

On that basis, the judge grants your spouse an order for protection on behalf of the kids, until such time that you can demonstrate you pose no danger to the children while they are in your care.  The court has ordered supervised visitation as your only access to the children.  Oh, and did I mention you are a prominent (pick one) judge, attorney, politician, business owner, actor, author, etc… in the community in which your children live.  

Now you have a dilemma:  Do you go to the local visitation center and risk running into your constituents, employees, litigants, and clients?  Do you ask your spouse’s parents to supervise the visits, even though they believe your spouse?  What about your family or friends?  Maybe they’d be willing to give up every Saturday from now until this whole thing is settled – that’s a lot to ask of a friendship for an extended period time.

Aside from the inconvenience, would they be seen as an objective witness should there be another allegation while you are visiting your children?  And, would they want to be put it that position?  Then you remember the family reunion in Florida coming up next month?  Is there some way that your children will not have to miss this important occasion?

The custodial parent is going through the same series of questions, seeking answers to how this visitation arrangement can be safe, yet allow the children time with their other parent.

Premiere visitation services can provide fully vetted, highly professional, objective supervision and reports for the courts, all while keeping your family’s business private. You will have the most accomplished visitation professionals, understanding the unique nature of your circumstances, customizing a visitation service to fit those needs.

 

 

NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.

Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.