What is the difference between "supervised visitation" and "monitored
Many parents and children who are
separating or divorcing in difficult circumstances need help from a neutral
third party in arranging for visitation. Although emotions may be running high
between you and the other parent, it is your children's best interests that you
should consider first when thinking about visitation. In most situations,
children want to continue relationships with both parents. If your former
partner still wants to maintain a relationship with the child, judges are
unlikely to terminate the rights of the parent to visit. In particularly
volatile situations where you may have safety concerns for you or your child,
you may want to consider supervised visitation or monitored exchanges.
- Supervised visitation is
visitation between a parent and child held at a neutral location. Supervised
visitations are closely monitored by staff who may intervene when necessary
to ensure appropriate parent/child interactions.
- Monitored exchanges means
that the parents pre-arrange times at which the custodial parent/guardian
brings the child to a neutral center. The visiting parent picks up the child
for off-site visitation and returns him/her to the center at a pre-arranged
time. Staggered pick-up and drop-off times are usually arranged so that the
parents do not have to be in contact with one another. The actual exchange
is monitored by staff who generally try to ease the process for the child.
When might I consider using one of these services?
Supervised visitation may be useful in situations where the non-custodial
- is working on improving his/her parenting
- may have a drug or alcohol abuse problem;
- has been abusive or has had trouble
controlling anger; or
- may have been involved in inappropriate sexual
behavior with the child.
Monitored exchanges may be useful in any
of the situations described above, particularly if the non-custodial parent has
completed treatment and is ready for unsupervised visits. Monitored exchanges
may also be helpful when parents separate and find themselves yelling at one
another whenever they meet, or when there is a history of domestic violence. If
any violence was directed at the child, supervised visitation may be most
How do I arrange for these services?
Most people find the services through
referrals from the courts, Family Services, or Child Protective Services. Others
negotiate visitation agreements that include one of these arrangements.