If you’re only allowed supervised visitation (sometimes called “supervised parenting time”) with your children in your divorce or break-up from your partner, it’s understandable that you would feel angry and frustrated. However, it’s important not to let this restriction impact your relationship with your children. In fact, if you haven’t been the parent you needed to be in the past, this can be an opportunity to work to repair that relationship.
Typically, a court will order a parent’s time with their children to be under the supervision of a third party if there’s been a history of substance abuse, violence or neglect that harmed or could have harmed a child. Sometimes an accusation is enough for a court to order temporary supervised visitation until the accusation is investigated.
Different types of supervised visitation
Supervised visitation can take a variety of forms. Sometimes, the third party supervising the interaction can be the co-parent or another family member. Often, supervised visitation has to take pace in a facility that offers these supervisory services.
Virginia has an extensive network of supervised visitation centers throughout the state, including the Richmond area. These centers provide an area for parents and children to play, talk and spend time together in a safe environment while under the supervision of trained professionals.
Don’t make things worse for yourself – or your kids
No matter how you feel about the order for supervised visitation, remember that it may not be your children’s preference, either. Here are few simple guidelines for making the best out of the situation:
- Don’t cancel or ask to reschedule unless it’s absolutely necessary.
- Always be on time.
- Know the rules of the visitation facility or the visitation order and follow them.
- Don’t use these visitations to fight with your co-parent or others who may be dropping off the kids or supervising the interaction.
- Have things ready to do with your kids that you can finish during your visitation time or easily pause until your next visit, like reading a book together.
- Be prepared for the possibility that your kids might want to do something else (or nothing at all) and be flexible.
- Focus on the kids – not on asking about or criticizing your co-parent.
If you are fighting a supervised visitation order or believe that you’ve earned greater parental rights after a period of supervised visits, your family law attorney can help you make the strongest possible case.