Divorce is often a complicated, difficult, and drawn-out process for many families. While many family members are often concerned that their right to spend time with a child will be negatively affected by a divorce, there are also instances when a judge may actually require that a third party be present even when a parent has visitation time with their own child.
Although by law, each parent who is not the residential parent is typically allowed to have parenting time with the child under the condition that the court directs—and it is a matter of public policy that both parents have frequent and continuing contact with the child—all of this is conditional based upon what the court determines is in the best interest of the child. The judge has the discretion, at any time, to interview children regarding their wishes and concerns in chambers, and that interview is closed off to parents.
There are certain behavioral patterns that—if exhibited by parents—might lead a judge to order supervised visitation or place other types of restrictions on parenting time between that parent and the child. Most of these are related to any behaviors that could endanger the safety of the child, such as any allegations of abuse (including substance abuse), child neglect, or a history of violence. In addition, any parent that has been specifically arrested for child-related crimes such as sexual abuse will only, at most, be able to have supervised visitation with a social worker.
Types of Visitation
In addition, some parents who are going through divorce may simply want to have a neutral third party present, especially if emotions are volatile and there are safety concerns associated with the child. In these circumstances, it is important to note that there is a difference between:
- Supervised visitation—which is held between parent and child at a neutral location;
- Monitored exchange—when both parents meet with a monitor to exchange their child for scheduled visitation; and
- Monitored communication—which typically involves a neutral monitor supervising a phone call between parent and child.
Visitation monitors can simply be trained monitors, or even licensed mental health professionals who are there to provide more therapeutic supervision. Typically, these individuals are present if there is any history of abuse
of a child or substance abuse by the parent.
What If I Want Supervised Visitation?
There are circumstances under which supervised visitation is ideal; for example, if there has been a prolonged absence of the parent in the child’s life and they want to create an eased transition back into the child’s life, or when one parent is working on improving their parenting skills. If this is the case, you will simply work with your attorney to specifically request supervised visitation in the parenting plan (either for yourself or the other parent).
Committed Family Lawyers in Dayton, Ohio
The Comunale Law Office has extensive experience successfully representing clients who have both argued for and against visitation rights, including supervised visitation. If you are dealing with a child visitation or custody issue, contact us today so that we can help you.