Updated: Nov 22, 2021
Courts Will Always Consider the Safety and Comfort of the Child
The policy of the State of California is that decisions related to custody and visitation are based on what is in the best interest of the child. If a judge has a concern about the safety or protection of a child, then the judge can order that all visitation between a parent and children be supervised by a neutral third party.
There are several reasons why a judge may order supervised visitation. Reasons for supervised visitation may include:
To help reintroduce a parent to a child after a long absence
To introduce a parent to a child where there has been no existing relationship
If there is a history or allegations of child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, or neglect
If the parent has a history of mental illness or there are concerns about their parenting abilities
If there is a threat that the parent may abduct the child
Supervised Visitation Due to Extended Absence of Parent
Whenever possible, the courts and the California system will want to allow a parent to be with their children. However, while keeping in mind the best interests of the child, it may not be feasible or even safe for the child to be left alone and under the direct supervision of a parent.
Supervised visitation may be warranted under several different conditions. There are cases where a parent and child are separated from each other for an extended period. Upon the parent’s return, the child may not remember the parent, or the child may feel uncomfortable being left alone with the parent. A neutral third party may be warranted just to ease the concerns of the child or the custodial parent or guardian. In these cases, the parent may not have any history that would lead to concern for the child’s safety. It may just be a case of parent and child getting to know each other or getting reacquainted in a setting that is controlled and comfortable for the child.
Supervised Visitation May be Ordered Due to Safety Concerns
There are cases where supervised visitation may be warranted due to previous issues regarding the child’s safety. There might have been instances or even allegations of child abuse, domestic violence, or neglectful behavior. The parent may also have a history of alcohol and drug abuse, which would cause a concern for the child’s safety.
At times there are cases where there may not be a history of violence or any active threat to a child, but a parent might suffer from a form of mental illness that would preclude them from being able to effectively and safely parent their children. The opposite is also possible. It may be a case where a child is suffering from a physical or mental disability and the parent is unable to cope with the demands of having a special needs child.
Supervised Visitation May be Needed if the Courts Feel There is a Risk of Abduction by the Parent
Divorce is not always a smooth or amicable process. Things can be contested and become very difficult. If there is a concern that a parent would circumvent the system and physically abduct the child, a judge would order supervised visitation.
Depending on the individual case and the severity of the concern, supervised visitation can take place with either a professional supervisor or with a mutually agreed upon third party. The visits may take place in a number of different settings. The visitation may take place at either parent’s residence. The supervised visits may take place in a public location, such as a park. In more serious cases, visitation could be ordered to be within a specific controlled location.
Call the Law Office of Tracy Duell-Cazes for a Consultation
The reasoning and laws behind supervised visitation can become very complex, especially when dealing with a parent with a history of violence or if there is a threat of abduction.
If you have concerns about supervised visitation or the safety of a child during a parenting time visit, call our office and schedule an appointment to speak with Tracy.
Tracy Duell-Cazes is a certified family law specialist recognized by the California State Board of Legal Specialization. As such she is an authority on all areas of family law, including child custody and visitation. Tracy can be reached at 408-267-8484.