The family court strongly emphasizes that visitation with a non-custodial parent is critical to a child’s sense of well-being, happiness and stability. Issues such as domestic violence, alcohol abuse or drug addiction, however, can compel the court to order the non-custodial parent to only have supervised visitation with the child.
During supervised visitation, the non-custodial parent may only visit with the child when another adult is present. This adult can be a family member, friend, social worker or a court-approved professional from an outside agency.
Factors That May Determine Supervised Visitation
The court’s focus is on the well-being, safety and welfare of the child. The court may deem the non-custodial parent’s behavior or situation threatens the child when there is evidence of any of the following:
- Physical, emotional or sexual abuse of the child
- Physical, emotional or sexual abuse of the other parent
- Neglect of the child
- Mental illness that could potentially end in harm to the child
- Substance abuse
- Risk of abduction
- Long absence or no contact with the child for an extended period
- Other situations that the court deems potentially dangerous
If the judge orders supervised visitation as a result of any of the above risks, he or she will set the terms as part of an overall parenting plan. The judge could make the supervised visitation order temporary based upon the non-custodial parent meeting certain conditions, such as drug treatment or counseling.
Should a non-custodial parent have existing court-ordered visitation, but the custodial parent feels that the child is either being neglected in danger, the custodial parent can request the court issue a modified visitation order.
Depending upon the specific family circumstances, the court might find that modifying visitation instead of supervised visitation is acceptable. Modifications can include the following kinds of arrangements:
- Shorter visits
- No overnight visits
- Prohibiting the use of drugs or alcohol during visits
- Restrictions on where the parent can take the child
- Restrictions on individuals who can be present during visitation
If a parent is deemed unfit, unable or unwilling to comply with either modified visitation or supervised visitation, the court may terminate parental rights permanently.
Do You Have Concerns? Call a Lawyer Today.
If you have concerns that your child is in danger or that visitation with the non-custodial parent is damaging and harmful, it’s important to get the courts involved immediately. Your child’s safety is of utmost importance to the courts—and us.
Our legal professionals can help you navigate the sensitive complexities of Family Court to ensure your child is protected. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.