Supervised visitation: what you need to know

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Friday, May 22, 2015.

In determining child custody and visitation rights, Missouri courts consider what arrangement is in the best interests of the child. When the child’s safety is at risk, the court may order that a parent’s visitation be supervised.

Under Missouri law, courts consider different factors in deciding whether to order supervised visitation. Typically, if one parent requests that the other parent’s parenting time be restricted or supervised, the court will hold a hearing on the issue. Both parents can present evidence about why visitations should or should not be supervised. After considering the evidence, the court must find that unsupervised visitation would endanger the physical or emotional health of the child. In addition, if a parent was previously found guilty of certain crimes, such as incest or child abuse, the court cannot award that parent custody or unsupervised visitation.

Who does the supervision? Depending on the circumstances, the court may order the parenting time to be supervised by someone that the parents know, like a family member, or by a neutral third party. The third party may be a licensed therapist or mental health professional. There are also local organizations that provide parenting time supervision and other related services, such as a safe place for parenting time exchanges. The downside to these services is that they cost money and their hours may be limited.

If the court ordered supervised visitation due to allegations of abuse or domestic violence, the parent must take certain steps before his or her parenting time can be unsupervised again. Specifically, the parent must provide proof that he or she has gone through appropriate treatment and rehabilitation. Unless and until the parent can provide that proof, the visitation will continue to be supervised.

To learn more about supervised visitation and other child custody issues, contact an experienced family law attorney.

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