Supervised visitation may be ordered by the court, or it may be granted in response to a parent's petition. Here are three situations in which you should consider making such a petition.
You Fear For the Child's Well-Being
Obviously, you shouldn't leave your child alone with the other parent if you fear that the parent may harm him or her (whether intentionally or not). There are many valid reasons why you may fear for your child's well-being. For example, the other parent may:
- Be a drug abuser who gets violent when high or drunk
- Be suffering from a mental problem such as schizophrenia
- Have a history of family violence
In this case, the visitations should be supervised not only to keep the child safe, but also to keep your mind at peace.
The Child is Very Anxious About the Visits
If you are the custodial parent, then you may notice a heightened sense of anxiety in your child just before the other parent comes visiting. The child may have mood swings, worry about going to school or even change his or her playing and eating habits. Such a child hasn't adjusted to the new way of doing things.
If a child is anxious about his or her other parent's visit, then it might be a good idea to have a supervisor present when they do meet. In fact, in this case, the ideal supervisor should be a professional therapist who can help the child with his or her anxiety and also help the parent cope with it.
The Parent Has Been Away For a Long Time
Lastly, you should know that children need to see, talk to and touch their parents in order to form a meaningful child-parent bond. If the other parent has been out of the child's life for a long time, then it is possible that they haven't formed a good bond. This is especially possible if the parent has been away since the child was young.
In such a case, leaving the child alone with the parent is akin to leaving him or her alone with a stranger. In fact, even the noncustodial parent may worry about how to handle the visit. A supervisor can help make the transition smoother.
Note that supervised visitation should only be ordered by the courts; you have no legal authority to institute one on your own. Explain your fears to your lawyer, and he or she will petition the court for such an order.
For more information, contact the Law Office of Shelli Wright Johnson or a similar firm.