No parent wants to be told they can only visit their child with a third party present. However, many parents must deal with a supervised visitation order from the court – at least temporarily. Supervised visitation to help ensure the safety and well-being of a child – not to punish a parent. Of course, it may not feel that way.
Generally, visitation must be supervised when a parent has a history of violent behavior, substance abuse and/or neglect. Even if you’re facing an accusation of such behavior, a judge will likely order supervised visitation while the accusation is being investigated, with the understanding that it will be lifted if the accusation is found to be meritless
Types of supervised visitation
There are varying levels of supervised visitation. A court may require only that another person observe the visitation. Depending on the circumstances, this could be a family member or friend.
In more serious cases, visitations may have to take place at designated locations where trained professionals monitor the interactions. Alabama has numerous family and visitation centers and other locations where court-ordered supervised visitations can be scheduled – typically for a fee.
Making the best of a supervised visitation order
If the order is based on false allegations, you may be understandably angry. However, remember that your child probably isn’t happy about it and might be fearful if they have to go to an unfamiliar place to see you.
It’s crucial to make the most of this time with your child – primarily for their sake, but also because you eventually want to have more and freer visitations. That means coming up with things that you and your child can do (and finding out what they want to do) in your allotted time together.
Here are some other important reminders.
- Never cancel or reschedule visits unless you absolutely must.
- Arrive on time and have your child ready to go when your time is up.
- Follow the rules of the order and, if you’re in a visitation center, of the facility and staff.
- Don’t argue with or criticize your co-parent or others who participate in the exchange.
Use this time to focus on your child and what’s going on with them – not on complaining about the situation or trying to get “dirt” on your co-parent.
If you’re dealing with a supervised visitation order, for whatever reason, having experienced legal guidance is important to protect your rights.