Supervised visitation means that an adult appointed by the court or the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) will monitor all visits that a parent has with their child. If a parent’s behavior indicates that child abuse, mental health problems, medical disability, or substance addiction may put the child at risk of harm, then visitation of the parent with their child may be supervised.
In general, to have supervised visitation in place, the court must find that a child is likely to be harmed if they are left unsupervised with the parent in question. This may be temporary until the supervised parent shows some type of improvement and the child is no longer at risk. A Short Hills supervised visitation lawyer could help you through the legal process if you need help requesting this type of order. Additionally, our team of attorneys could provide legal advice if you are facing required supervision during your parenting time.
During supervised visitation, there will either be a Division employee or an authorized third-party present for the duration of the visit. This third party may include a family member, or a family friend approved by the court. In either scenario, the supervisor must be aware of the order, and agree to fully supervised visitation between the child and the parent. The supervisor must stay within, what the court refers to as, sight and sound supervision at all times during the visit.
This means that the parent must be in the presence of this supervisor throughout their entire visit with their child. Under no circumstances can the parent be alone with their child. Additionally, during the time that a parent is exercising supervised visitation, their normal parenting time schedule with their child may change. For example, a parent may no longer be permitted to exercise overnight visitations with their child during a time when their visits must be supervised. Additionally, a party’s regular parenting time may be shortened, which allows that supervisor to be present.
One parent may want to request supervised visitation when they have concerns that the children’s other parent is placing them at risk due to untreated mental health conditions, medical conditions, or concerns that the child is being abused or neglected.
The first step someone should take when trying to pursue supervised visitation is to consult with a local attorney who is knowledgeable in this area of the law. This could help to ensure that they have the information necessary to provide to the court in support of their request. When someone is requesting this type of relief from the court, they must be able to prove to the court that there is some type of child abuse, neglect or risk of harm. If there is not a valid concern for abuse or neglect, this could cause the court to order that the Division of Child Protection and Permanency become involved and investigate the family. Once a parent compiles this information, the next step would be to file a motion with the court requesting a supervisor during these visits.
A parent may not want to request supervision if the concerns that they have regarding the other parent cannot be supported. Additionally, requesting supervised visitation could cause a whole host of issues for the family in general, especially if it looks like one parent is requesting this type of visitation out of spite or for an unsubstantiated reason.
Supervised visitation will be in place until the court finds that a parent has rectified the issue which led to the requirement of supervised visitation or that they have made significant progress and the child is no longer at risk of harm. Therefore, the time frame of this type of order is on a case-by-case analysis.
A parent will need to return to court to modify the order, as they do not expire on their own unless there is specific language that addresses this. A parent would have to file a notice of motion to modify parenting time, and then explain to the court that there has been a change in circumstances warranting that parenting time no longer be supervised. After this, one of two things can happen, if the other parent is in agreement, a consent order can be signed, but if the other parent is not in agreement, then the court would hold a hearing that allows both sides to make a case.
A lawyer in Short Hills could help with this process for modifying a supervised visitation order. The attorneys at the Williams Law Group know the process by which this request would need to be done. Additionally, our team understands exactly what the court is looking for in terms of the progress a parent has made, any compliance with previous court orders and the proof needed to show the court that a child is no longer at risk of harm if that supervision is lifted.
Visitation by a supervisor is taken quite seriously by the court. Therefore, if someone has a court order mandating that their visitation be supervised, they should be careful to ensure that they are following this action precisely. If a parent fails to do this, it could make their case more difficult and this may extend supervised visitation. If you are dealing with this type of order, contact our Short Hills supervised visitation lawyers today.