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Parameters for supervised visitation in California

Any parent in California who has gone through a divorce know that it can be very difficult on the children. Children often find it difficult to adjust to their parents no longer living together under the same roof. In the best interests of the child, California courts generally give child custody to one parent and orders for the other to have visitation and provide child support.

However, in certain instances, where there has been a history of domestic violence, the court may give child custody to one parent and restrict the other's visitation rights. The court may order that a third person be present when the non-custodial parent visits the child, which is known as supervised visitation. Supervised visitation may be ordered under other certain circumstances, such as reintroducing a parent to a child after a period of long absence or to facilitate the non-custodial parent in addressing certain behavioral issues.

Supervised visitation may also be allowed in order to introduce a parent to a child because there has never been a relationship or there has been a history of domestic violence or abuse. In addition, if a parent is known to abuse illegal substances, then supervised visitation may be permitted.

If a parent has a history of mental illness or may be viewed as risk for abducting the child, then in the best interests of the child, the court may order supervised visitation in order to ensure the safety of the child. A third person, usually a family member or a friend, or even a paid professional, must be present during all visits, patiently listening to the parent and child, and also paying close attention to the child's behavior, if the court has ordered supervised visitation.

Many parents may think that supervised visitation is not the ideal way of fostering a relationship between a parent and child. But sometimes this is the healthiest way that the parent and child can spend time with each other.

Source: Courts.CA.gov, "Supervised Visitation," Accessed Jan. 14, 2015

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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