When Virginia courts are tasked with determining custody and visitation rights for parents, among the factors they consider is a history of violent behavior. They’re particularly concerned with abuse or neglect of other family members.
However, under Virginia law, “an act of violence, force, or threat…that occurred no earlier than 10 years prior…” can cost a parent custody and visitation rights. A judge may require that any visitation with a child be supervised.
A history of violence or neglect
Who is qualified to monitor court-ordered supervised visitation? It depends on the circumstances. For example, if a parent has a history of (or ongoing) substance abuse issues but has no history of harming their child or anyone else, a family member or friend may be allowed to supervise the visits.
If a parent has a history of violence, abuse or neglect (or if allegations are still being investigated), a judge may require that visitations take place at a facility approved by the court. There are supervised visitation centers throughout the area where parents and children can spend time together, play games, do art projects, read and just talk. They are generally monitored by security cameras and trained personnel.
Maximizing safety and minimizing conflict
Typically, when visitations are supervised by third parties like the YMCA and other organizations that run these facilities, exchanges are also monitored and supervised. This can help reduce the need for direct interaction between parents and make it a more conflict-free experience for everyone.
If supervised visitation has been ordered for you, it’s understandable that you may feel resentful – particularly if the decision was based on unproven allegations or perhaps a mistake you made years ago. You have the right to dispute it in court.
In the meantime, however, it’s important to make the most of these visits with your child. Being angry at them, at the people whose job it is to keep everyone safe or even at your ex will only lessen your chances of getting unsupervised visitation and eventually more parenting rights. It’s best to listen to – and follow — sound legal advice.