By: Tara Brown
Tara Brown is a Partner at WhitbeckBennett. Ms. Brown was born and raised in northern New Jersey. She has been practicing Family Law and Trust & Estates for six years, and has 18 years of experience negotiating contracts. Her endeavor to objectively evaluate situations has led to creative, unique solutions in negotiations with opposing parties in the practice. To learn more about Tara, click here.
Supervised Visitation in Virginia
A child has the right to have contact with both parents. However, what a parent’s visitation looks like and how often it occurs, and supervision of a parent’s visitation can be ordered by the courts. A Judge has the authority to order that a parent’s visits with their child be supervised—this is called supervised visitation.
If you believe that it would be unsafe for your child to spend time alone with his or her other parent, you can ask the court to issue an order to change the visitation arrangement to supervised visitation. When a parent is required to have supervised visits with their child this means that another person must be present during their visitation time with the child. The supervisor oversees the visit to make sure the child remains safe and the parent behaves appropriately. Supervised visits allow continued contact with both parents but ensure that the child is protected.
A supervisor is often a trusted person chosen by the parents to attend any visits between the child/children and the parent requiring supervision. However, in some cases, the court or parents select a supervisor from a facility or organization that specializes in supervised visits. In this case, the visit takes place in a neutral and controlled environment or at a facility and the cost of the visit is either split between the parents or must be covered by the parent being supervised.
When is Supervised Visitation Appropriate?
Supervised visits between a child and parent are not automatically required, even if the other parent is inexperienced. There are, however, certain circumstances in which supervised visits would be in the best interests of the child. Some of these circumstances may include:
– Drug or alcohol abuse
– History of Mental illnesses
– History of physical abuse or neglect
– Anger issues
– Poor parental decision making
If a parent has a history of one or more of these or there are other serious concerns, the other parent may ask the court to take these things into consideration and require supervised visits with the child or children. In the end, unless the parents agree it is the court that makes the final determination on whether or not visits must be supervised. The ultimate goal when deciding custody and visitation is for the child to have a safe and healthy relationship with both parents. If the child’s safety could be at risk, supervised visitation (even for a short time) is a way to accomplish this goal and foster an improved relationship between parent and child. Supervised visits can help the supervised individual take full responsibility for their role in parenting their child.
Get Answers to Your Visitation and Custody Questions
If you have questions about getting supervised visitation for your child or children in Virginia, you should speak with an experienced Virginia family law attorney about your situation. The attorneys at Whitbeck Bennett are equipped with the experience you want when navigating visitation and custody conditions between your child and their other parent. As compassionate and skilled family law attorney’s we can answer your questions about supervised visitation and assist you throughout the custody process.