Supervised Visitation in California

Supervised Visitation in California
Supervised visitation is a tool available to California judges when they want to ensure safety and look out for the best interest of a child. Supervised visitation allows a non-custodial parent to visit with his or her child in a safe environment under the supervision of a neutral third party.

There are several reasons a court might use supervised visitation, such as the following:

  • to allow the child and parent to become acquainted or reacquainted if they have no relationship or have been apart for some time;
  • to prevent the parent from abducting the child:
  • to address concerns about parenting skills or parental mental illness; and
  • to allow the parent and child to see each other even though there may be concerns about child abuse or neglect.

The legislature’s top priority in supervised visitation is “the safety of children, adults, and visitation supervisors.” After safety is assured, the paramount consideration is “the best interest of the child.”

California law allows for professional, paid providers to supervise visitation. However it also permits this need to be met by a nonprofessional provider, who is often a family member or friend. In either case, the law strictly regulates the qualifications of supervising providers. Regardless, the following three criteria apply:

  • no prior convictions for crimes against the person, including child molestation or abuse;
  • “no current or past court order in which the provider is the person being supervised”; and
  • if the person will be transporting the child, proof of current automobile insurance.

Professional providers must receive extensive training in many areas, including the following:

  • the responsibilities and duties of providers and their specific role;
  • laws relating to child abuse reporting, family law, and juvenile law;
  • child development needs;
  • cultural sensitivities; and
  • confidentiality

Supervised visitation sessions may be terminated if rules are violated, the child is “acutely distressed,” or a safety issue is present.

Supervised visitation provides an important means for a child to build or maintain a relationship with his or her noncustodial parent. If you need legal assistance in a hotly contested child custody or visitation matter, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger will provide respectful legal support. Make the call today to learn how our attorneys can help: (415) 293-8314.