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RD- an actual child support client
"My case was handled quickly and with ease."
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Supervised Visitation


Family in need of attorney

In some child custody cases, it may be necessary for the court to impose conditions that limit or restrict the manner in which a parent exercises their custodial rights, such as requiring that visitation with the child be supervised. The Gainesville attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. understand that custodial arrangements involving supervised visitation can be a challenging situation for parents to be in, no matter if you are on the requesting or receiving end. On one side, there is a parent that is entitled to visitation with the child. On the other side, there is a parent that needs to ensure the safety and protection of themselves and their child(ren), while still allowing access to the child.

There are a variety of reasons why the court may order visitation on a supervised basis. For example, supervised visitation can occur as a result of, or in conjunction with other legal proceedings, such as dependency cases involving alleged or confirmed abuse, abandonment, neglect, or harm to the child. Likewise, supervised visitation may be necessary when issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence, or other criminal-related matters present concerns over the safety and well-being of the parent, child, or a sibling.

Supervised visitation may also be ordered for the purposes of preventing removal of the child from the state during the pendency of a custody proceeding, whether involving an initial custody determination or modification of a previously entered ordered. In addition, temporary orders associated with supplemental proceedings, such as with matters of parental relocation, may include terms of supervised visitation in cases where a parent has previously removed a child or may do so in the future.

In some cases, supervised visitation serves the primary purpose of protecting the mental and emotional well-being of the child, as opposed to preventing physical harm to the parent or child. This often occurs in situations in which a parent’s prolonged absence or general lack of involvement in the child’s life requires gradual reintroduction in a safe and structured environment to allow the child to properly adapt. Regardless of the cause, cases involving supervised visitation are best served by having an experienced family law attorney involved.

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While the failure to maintain a continuing relationship with a child is often attributed solely to the actions of the absent parent (i.e. parental incarceration; relocation with no contact; or overall lack of concern for an extended period), there are also scenarios in which a parent’s absence occurs through no fault of their own (i.e. location of child unknown; parent or other person impeded contact with child; or father unaware that child was his).

Regardless of the circumstances that prompted the need for supervision during visitation, the most vital concern is establishing a plan that will serve the child best in the long run. As such, it is helpful to consider the setting in which supervised visitation may be carried out. There are several settings in which supervised visitation may occur, each of which share one thing in common—the presence of a third-party who is responsible for observing and ensuring the safety of those involved. Examples include:

    • State-approved Visitation Center
    • Residence of Relative, Caregiver, or other Neutral Party
    • Office of Therapist/ Mental Health Professional

Although far less common, the court may allow a custodial parent to provide supervision during visitation. However, similar to shared parental responsibility, this is only appropriate in situations where both parents are able communicate and work together without conflict. Determining a suitable supervised visitation arrangement should be carefully assessed on a case-by-case basis, while also keeping in mind long term goals of stability and permanency for the child(ren).

It is important for parents to keep in mind the impact that their actions, during periods of supervision, might have on future custody determinations. Efforts taken by the parent being supervised can be used to demonstrate that supervision is no longer needed, or in the contrary, to show the need for continued supervised visitation. Examples include a parent’s ability to maintain ongoing contact with the child in accordance with the terms of supervision, as well as participation in parenting classes, whether court-ordered or voluntary.

Parents should also consider what other measures can be taken to protect the mental well-being of the child, and ensure that visitation is a positive experience. Whether the child is continuing ongoing supervised visitation, or in the process of transitioning to a supervised arrangement, studies have shown that children benefit most when parents encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent.

In contrast to supervised visitation, the facilitation of time-sharing and visitation may sometimes require supervision only during period of exchange. This arrangement may also be referred to as ‘supervised exchange,’ or ‘exchange monitoring.’ In these situations, parents must remember that any interaction with the other parent should remain limited solely to exchange of the child, and nothing more.

The Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. represents both mothers and fathers in child custody matters involving supervised visitation or exchanged monitoring. Whether you are a petitioner or respondent, our experienced Gainesville attorneys want to help you and your family in attaining the results necessary to achieve long-term stability.