Supervised Visitation – Part II
I Have Been Ordered Into Supervised Visitation With My Child –
Is it Possible to Return to a Standard Possession Order?
In a perfect world, parents going through the divorce process work together for the best interest of their child(ren) and are allowed possession of the child(ren) approximately fifty percent of the time. However, issues such as drug addiction, mental or physical abuse, neglect, and severe mental illness may force a parent to petition the courts to order limited or supervised visitation. On rare occasions, a parent is regrettably ordered into supervised visitation due to false or misleading information. Regardless of the circumstances, court ordered supervised visitation is costly, may substantially limit the amount of time a parent is allowed to spend with their child, and can create a difficult transition into a standard possession order.
If the court has ordered supervised visitation, seek proper counsel from a qualified attorney. If a case, rightly or wrongly, has been established for supervised visitation by the evidence or circumstances or court order, you will need to build a case for standard or standard expanded possession.
During a supervised visit it is imperative that you keep any comments on the case to yourself. Avoid giving any opinions on the existing judgment or the supervised visitation order. Within reason, limit your conversation to what is strictly necessary for the child to have a safe, happy and healthy visit. Be polite and courteous with the monitor even if you develop strong negative feelings regarding him or her. Continue to enforce the importance of seeing your child and spending quality time with your child whenever possible. Never, under any circumstances, talk negative about the other parent to or in the presence of the child or the monitor. Never, use vulgar or abusive language toward or in the presence of the child or the monitor. The visitation monitor may be an important asset at future hearings regarding a change from supervised visitation to a standard or expanded possession order.
Make every scheduled visit without fail. If unable to make a scheduled visit, contact the monitor as soon in advance as possible with an appropriate explanation and request an alternative date. Bring family members whenever possible and clear it with the visitation monitor prior to their attendance. Bring cards and gifts, not only from you but from family members. If visits are going well, request off-site visits at a nearby restaurant or park. Though visits may be costly, the more frequent you are observed in a loving relationship with your child, the better the chance of supervised visitation being suspended.
Involve a psychiatrist or qualified counselor in your visitation schedule if at all possible. Such professionals are key as you begin to build your case for standard possession since they are able to make suggestions to the Court as to how visits are progressing and the manner in which standard possession can be accomplished.
If you have been ordered to have drug or alcohol testing performed, take each test as scheduled and make certain you are free of drugs and alcohol. A positive drug or alcohol test may place you back at square one and undermine your progress.
If a social study is ordered, dispose of any prescription drugs not needed or which are out of date and put away any alcohol in your home. Make certain your home is clean and orderly when the evaluation is performed. In such cases, a qualified professional will come to your home and evaluate the environment for the best interest of the child. If you have been ordered into supervised visitation because of drugs or alcohol, it is imperative that these items not be sitting around the home when a social worker is performing his/her evaluation, in order to not suggest an invalid conclusion.
Keep your child support current. If the supervised visitation is placing a financial strain on you ability to pay child support, have an attorney address modifying your child support in a Motion to Modify. It is counterproductive to request unsupervised visitation if you are not current in your financial responsibility toward your child.