If you’re going through a divorce with children involved, you will be faced with the emotional topic of child custody and visitation. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a parenting arrangement, the responsibility will fall on the court. Although court rulings on child custody issues are based on the best interests of the child, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the court will automatically sever the parent-child relationship if a parent is deemed unfit. When a parent threatens a child’s well-being and safety, the court will not grant them custody. However, the court believes that it’s in a child’s best interest to benefit from having a regular and ongoing relationship with both of their parents. Therefore, they may deem a parent unfit to be alone with the child but award supervised visitation to preserve the parent-child relationship. Please continue reading to learn what supervised visits entail and how our compassionate Monmouth County Child Visitation Attorneys can help you protect your valuable parenting time.
What is Supervised Visitation?
Fortunately for parents, various custody arrangements allow them to remain an influence in their children’s lives. Supervised visitation is one of those options. When there are concerns about the safety and well-being of a child when spending time with a parent or guardian, the court may enforce supervised visits. This type of arrangement allows the parent to visit their child. However, they must be monitored by a third-party observer. The third-party observer can be a trained professional or a family member. Supervised visits are usually ordered in the following situations:
- There are accusations of abuse or neglect against a parent
- A parent is struggling with substance abuse issues
- A parent is struggling with an uncontrolled mental illness
- A parent is engaged in parental alienation
- A parent presents a flight risk (the court wants to ensure the child is not kidnapped or abducted by that parent)
How Long Will This Arrangement Be Imposed in New Jersey?
In most cases, supervised visitation is a temporary arrangement. Unsupervised visitation can be achieved if the non-custodial parent meets specific requirements. For instance, if they undergo six months of clean drug tests, seek counseling for their mental illness, or resolve the issue necessitating supervision, they can be awarded unsupervised visitation.
To help the court determine how long supervised visitation should be imposed, they may request that the supervisor take notes about the parent’s interactions with the child during the visits. These reports can help determine if supervised visitations should continue or if the parent should be allowed unsupervised parenting time. It’s also possible to petition the court to modify an existing visitation schedule. The court will consider several factors but ultimately decide whether supervised visits are still in the child’s best interests.
For more information about supervised visitation, please don’t hesitate to contact a trusted attorney from the legal team at Paone Zaleski & Murphy today. Our legal team is prepared to help you protect your parental rights.