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What are important points about supervised visitation rights?

During a divorce, the issues that led to the couple deciding to part ways will be expressed and debated as they move forward with the end of a marriage. In cases in California where there are children from the union, child custody and visitation rights will be critical. Visitation rights are frequently in dispute and, in some circumstances, there are issues that make it necessary for a parent to have supervised visitation. Understanding key points about supervised visitation is imperative as the case moves forward.

The best interests of the child take precedence with child custody and visitation. Supervised visitation is for the child's safety and benefit. In a case where it is determined that the parent cannot be left alone with the child, there will be a neutral third party who will be present. This can be due to domestic violence or other problems the couple had or the parent had with the child. For example, the child and parent might have been separated for an extended period. There could be a lack of a relationship between child and parent and one must be established. Mental illness or substance abuse could be a concern. Or abduction is deemed possible. It will be up to the court to decide when and for how long the visits will take place.

Supervised visitation is for the child's safety. The supervised visitation provider can be a professional, a friend of the couple or a family member. He or she is there to ensure that the visits are safe and to watch and hear what happens during the visit. If there is a problem during the visit, the provider can intervene or conclude the visit. If there is suspicion of child abuse, the provider must report it. A third party who is a friend or family member will take part for free. A professional will be paid. The court will decide which type of provider should be used.

During a divorce, a parent who has concerns about the child's safety when there is visitation should know about supervised visitation. It is also important for the parent who will receive the supervised visitation to understand all it entails. If there is a disagreement regarding any aspect of visitation rights, seeking professional guidance is imperative.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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