Kevin Qualls Family Law
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What is 'supervised visitation' in California?

When two parents in California divorce, or separate if they were never married, a child custody and visitation plan will be created that establishes the schedules in which the child will be in each parent's care, and whether one parent or both will have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the child.

However, all family dynamics are different. Sometimes the court determines that there are safety issues involved in a child custody and visitation situation. Per public policy, child custody and visitation decisions must be made in the best interests of the child. If the child's safety is a concern, it may be possible for the court to order a "supervised visitation" arrangement.

Under supervised visitation, a neutral third party will be present during the parent's visitation period with the child. The court order will contain information regarding when, where and how long the visits will be and who will be supervising them. There may be a number of reasons why a court may order supervised visitation.

Supervised visitation may provide the parent with the time and opportunity to address his or her issues, especially if they compromise the child's safety such as in the case of substance abuse, child abuse or child neglect. If the parent and child have been apart for a long time, supervised visitation may be one way to let each party be reintroduced. Similarly, if a child never knew the parent, this may be another reason for supervised visitation, at first. If there are concerns regarding the ability of the parent's ability to care for the child, due to mental illness or otherwise or if a parent has threatened to abduct the child, these may also be reasons for supervised visitation.

In any child custody and visitation situation, the child deserves to be in a safe environment. Sometimes supervised visitation is necessary to maintain the child's safety. In some cases, the reasons behind the supervision will be resolved, and a parent will eventually be allowed to have unsupervised visitation periods. However, each case is different, and whether or not supervised visitation will take place and for how long will depend on the specific circumstances of each case.

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