Supervised visitation of children isn’t as uncommon as you might think. Courts can mandate that a parent’s “possession and access” to their child be supervised for a number of reasons.
Generally, it is because there is a history of neglect, substance abuse, violence or something else by a parent that’s endangered the well-being of the child. Even if there’s just an allegation, most judges will err on the side of a child’s safety and require that visitations be supervised while the allegation is being fully investigated.
Either way, if you’re the parent involved, it’s important to remember that this isn’t being done to punish you but to protect your child. It’s even more important to remember that it’s not your child’s fault.
Who supervises visitation and how?
It depends on the situation. Sometimes a judge will allow a family member or close friend to be the supervising individual. Sometimes a pastor will be allowed to do it. In some instances, the person supervising has to remain in the room. In others, they may just need to be at the same location.
Texas, like other states, also has a network of access and visitation centers. Here, trained employees oversee parent/child visitations – generally for a fee.
Making the most of supervised visitation
No matter how unfair you may believe this requirement is, it’s in your best interests (and, more importantly, your child’s) to cooperate with the order and with those helping to enforce it. Don’t skip visits or arrive late. Have activities planned that you can do with your child in the allotted time, but be prepared and patient with them if they’d rather just sit and talk or do nothing. Don’t spend your time with your child complaining about their other parent, the judge or anyone else.
If you believe that your supervised visitation order is unwarranted, it’s wise to have experienced legal guidance. This can help you better deal with the current arrangement and provide you with the best chance of being able to spend more time with your child independently.