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Visitation is the legal right granted to a non-custodial parent to spend time with their child. Visitation allows the non-custodial parent to be involved in the child’s life on a consistent and regular basis. In certain situations, the court may decide to give a non-custodial parent supervised visitation rights.

Supervised visitation rights are usually ordered only when the court finds that allowing a regular visitation schedule would be putting the child in danger physically or emotionally. In New York, supervised visitation is defined as “contact between a noncustodial parent and his child in presence of a third a party who observes and monitors the visit and ensures the child’s well-being.”

Sometimes the third party may be a court-approved friend or family member and the visitation will be able to take place right in their homes. Other times, a court may decide that visitation will take place in a public or agency setting, and the third party will be a professional that will be able to enforce legal safety measures when necessary. Supervised visitations allow the custodial parent to drop the child off at a neutral meeting place, and it provides safety, as well as minimum contact from the non-custodial parent. The court can also grant an order for monitored exchange which means that someone would also supervise the exchange of the child from one parent to another, thus making sure that the visit stays calm and safe for everyone.

Supervised visitations can allow non-custodial parents to learn how to develop a relationship with their child that is safe and appropriate. This may result in improved emotional well-being, as well as positive changes in a child’s behavior. Supervised visitation can also provide a non-custodial parent the ability to meet their child for the first time. In some cases, the supervised visits have reunited families that have gone years without contact. Ultimately, the goal of supervised visitation is to transition into unsupervised visitations and gain a new level of reconciliation and trust.

In specific cases, the court may grant therapeutic supervised visitation. This type of visitation is supervised by a mental health professional who tries to improve the parenting skills of the non-custodial parent during the visits. Therapeutic supervised visitations are generally geared toward those non-custodial parents who need to improve their parenting skills.

Under New York Law, a parent will not be subjected to supervised visitation unless the court finds that the child would be adversely affected by regular visitation. The most common reason for supervised visitation is if the non-custodial parent has a history of domestic violence, especially toward the custodial parent. In these circumstances, the custodial parent is likely to receive harassment, threats, and attempts of child abductions from the non-custodial parent, if supervised visitation is not requested. Other reasons that the court may grant supervised visitations include, but are not limited to:

  • Parent’s mental illness
  • Parent’s substance abuse
  • Sexual behavior
  • Child abuse

To be granted supervised visitation, there must be a formal judicial hearing complying with state due process requirements. The custodial parent must file a motion with the court and supply supplemental evidence to support the claims laid out in the motion. The non-custodial parent will get notice of the hearing and will be given an opportunity to be heard in court. Several factors will determine whether the court grants supervised visitations. The court will consider violence or threats of violence against the child, emotional harm, or a child’s request for limitations or denials of visits.

Getting supervised visitation rights can be an emotionally difficult process. If you worry about your child’s safety when they are visiting a non-custodial parent, seek the expertise of Larry McCord & Associates, LLC. Our Long Island family law attorneys can offer your solace and knowledge throughout this emotional process. We will make sure that your rights and your children are protected. For any visitation or custody disputes call (631) 643-3084 for a consultation today.

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