In order to provide the children with the best possible living situation following a divorce, one parent may receive sole custody, while the other only receives visitation rights, or very limited custody rights. In more extreme cases, one parent may only receive supervised visitation rights for a variety of reasons.
Supervised visitation allows parents, no matter their situation, a way to remain in their children’s lives while maintaining an environment that keeps the children safe. The judge may impose these restrictions in order to avoid possibly dangerous situations, while still allowing the parent in question to remain in their lives for several reasons:
- Abandonment: The court may order supervised visitation in cases where the parent either never created a relationship to begin with, or if they left their children behind and never returned.
- Abduction: In cases where a parent has made a threat about abducting their children, the court believes that the parent poses a serious risk for abduction, or if they have abducted their children in the past, the court may order supervised visitation in order to remove that possibility.
- Child’s Wishes: There is no age requirement for the court to take the children’s wishes into account in Florida; rather, they will consider whether they understand the situation, has experience with both parents, and whether or not they display the intelligence required to make such an important decision.
- Incarceration: An incarcerated parent’s visitation rights may be limited, or completely suspended if the court decides that jail visits would have a negative effect on the children involved.
- Substance Abuse: Whether drugs or alcohol, issues caused by substance abuse may lead to a limit on visitation rights for the parent in question, especially if they have been charged with a DUI while the children were under their care.
- Violence / Harm: If a parent has abused their children in the past, either emotionally or physically, the judge may require supervised visitation in order to protect the children. Warning signs of abuse the court may take into consideration include unusual behavior, poor school performance, stuttering, and bed wetting.
There are a variety of ways that the court can institute supervised visitation. One of the more common solutions is to require the custodial parent to be present during visitation, but that may not be possible due to various reasons, including both parents’ schedules and their relationship with each other. Other options include:
- Qualified Third-Party Supervision: In cases where the parent is unwilling or unable to be present during the visitation times, the judge may allow another relative, friend, or qualified third party to supervise the visitation.
- Remote Monitoring: The judge may allow for supervision through a videoconference, phone call, or other electronic means.
- Public Supervision: The judge may require the non-custodial parent to see their children in a public setting, or if there are several qualified supervisors monitoring them.
- Therapy Sessions: The judge may require visitation only occur in the presence of a certified mental health professional during parent-child therapy sessions.
Child custody battles are never easy, so it’s important to have qualified legal counsel by your side. At Robert Sparks Attorneys, we fight for you like you’re a member of our own family. Call us today at (813) 336-3348 to set up a meeting with one of our divorce lawyers, or contact us today to request a free case consultation.