When is Supervised Visitation Appropriate?

In Arizona as in other states, the welfare of the child is of utmost importance when courts make decisions regarding decision making (custody) and parenting time (visitation). A concerned parent may ask “when is supervised visitation appropriate?” There are some situations that require supervised visitation. For example a parent who is guilty of misconduct or has mental health issues may not be deemed capable of handling visitation with their child alone. In these cases, supervised visitation may be ordered.

Misconduct Could Result in Supervised Visitation

Misconduct could cause a parent to be found unfit to care for their child alone. In such instances, the court may order supervised visitation. Misconduct could include such things as alcohol or drug abuse, violence, or criminal activities. When a parent’s ability to provide safe care for their child is in question, the court may allow the parent to visit with the child only in the presence of a third party, at least until the misconduct issues are satisfactorily resolved.

Mental Health Problems Are Considered for Visitation

Some parents may suffer from mental health issues that could prevent them from properly caring for their child. The court may require supervised visitation on a temporary or permanent basis while the problems persist. A custody evaluator may review the situation to help determine the needs and wishes of the child.

What to Expect with Supervised Visitation

Supervised visitation requires that a third party be present at all times during parenting time. The third party must be approved before they are allowed to take part in the visitation. The location of the transfer of the child will also be determined. In some instances, the transfer will take place in a public location and the third party must be present. In some cases the primary custodial parent will transfer the child to the third party directly. The child must be returned at the time that has been pre-approved.

Who is the Third Party?

Sometimes it is appropriate for a grandparent or other family member to be the third party who provides supervision.  This is usually appropriate only when the situation is not highly volatile and a family member can be trusted to provide real supervision. In especially contentious or even dangerous settings, third party companies and mental health providers are generally available for appointment as supervisors for a fee.

Resolving Decision Making and Parenting Time Disputes

Decision Making and Parenting Time arrangements are set by the court as part of the divorce or final paternity order. Once in place, these issues generally cannot be changed without a modification. In situations where supervised visitation is not being properly followed the parent should resolve the matter through the courts. If a parent is in violation of the order he or she is at risk of losing visitation rights.

Divorce and paternity matters can be complicated and the courts will always protect the children. If you have questions or need assistance with your divorce call the lawyers at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Supervised Visitation, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.