When you and your spouse have children together and decide to go your separate ways in life, things can get complicated in court. This is especially true if you and your ex disagree about child custody issues. If you believe that your children are at risk when they are alone with their other parent, you’re entitled to ask a Washington family court judge to order supervised visitation.
There are numerous reasons why a judge might order supervised visitation. This means that a parent is only able to spend time with his or her kids when another adult is present to oversee the visit. This person might be a trusted friend or family member, or a paid professional visitation supervisor. Either way, the supervisor will be expected to sign an oath to diligently supervise the contact, and report on anything of concern.
Issues that often prompt supervised visitation in a divorce
When making child custody decisions, a Washington family court judge reviews each case on its own merits, then considers all relevant factors in alignment with state guidelines to issue a ruling. The following are a few issues that might compel a judge to rule that a parent may not be with his or her children, unless a supervisor is present:
- There is evidence of child abuse or neglect.
- The parent in question has a problem with drugs or alcohol.
- The parent in question has a mental health problem.
- The court has determined that children are at risk for kidnapping.
- One of the parents has tried to alienate the kids from the other parent.
In such circumstances, supervised visitation would be a logical option. However, in some cases, the court might prohibit a parent from seeing his or her children altogether.
Where do supervised visits take place?
If your children are scheduled to see their other parent under a supervised visitation program, their visits might take place at a public place, such as a park, or a restaurant, or other even at a designated visitation facility. There might be a charge associated with use of this space. It is also acceptable for visits to occur in a private setting, such as a relative’s home.
The supervisor must never leave children alone with the visiting parent
Even if your kids visit their other parent at a grandparent’s or other relative’s home, the supervising adult must never leave them alone with your ex. It’s critically important to make sure all involved parties understand the rules of a supervised visitation agreement.
If you believe that your ex is disobeying supervised visitation rules, you can bring the matter to the court’s attention. It’s best to avoid confrontation and to enlist outside support as needed.