If you're concerned about the safety of your children when they are visiting the other parent, you can file a request with the court to order supervised visitation. Unlike how the movies and television show may make it seem, though, supervised visitation is very challenging to obtain. Here are two things you need to do to prepare, which may increase your chances of getting your request approved.
Have a Serious and Valid Reason
The reason you're asking for the supervised visitation order will have the biggest impact on whether your request will be approved. Supervised visitation significantly intrudes on the relationship between parent and children, which can make it difficult for the parent to bond with the children and raise them. Thus, it's typically only granted in situations where the parent represents a clear danger to the children's physical, mental, or emotional well-being.
For example, if the parent physically abused the children, the court will likely approve a supervised visitation order to ensure the parent doesn't hurt the kids while they are with him or her.
Other reasons the court may approve a supervised visitation order include:
- Verbal, emotional, mental abuse
- Sexual abuse or assault of any minor
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Mental illness that may cause the parent to hurt the kids
- Previous child neglect
In some situations, homelessness may also qualify. If the parent doesn't have a safe place to house the kids while they're in the person's care, the court may deem this a safety hazard and order supervised visitation to provide a space where the parent and children can meet.
It goes without saying that you need to have evidence backing up your accusations. You may truly believe the other parent is dangerous to the kids. However, your request may be denied if you don't have sufficient evidence of potential harm. It's best to consult with a family law attorney for help with preparing your case.
Find an Appropriate Supervisor
Another thing you need to do is find someone who can conduct the supervised visits. Depending on the severity of the accusation and the state you live in, supervised visitation is sometimes overseen by a government employee (e.g. social worker). In many cases, though, the court will allow a friend or family member to fill the role, which typically makes it easier for parents and children to meet.
However, the person who fills the role must be vetted by the court and have a flexible schedule that can accommodate the visitations. Additionally, the person must be acceptable to both you and the other parent and have no hard feelings towards either of you.
Having someone who can quickly step into the role of supervisor for the visitation may increase your chances of winning, since the court doesn't have to waste time and resources locating someone appropriate.
For more information about getting a supervised visitation petition approved, contact a family law attorney or a company such as Catherine Real Family Law.