Supervised visitation is an unfortunate consequence of divorce for some parents. A court often orders it if one parent has problems with drugs, alcohol, mental illness or other issues. Alternatively, the parent may have the subject of a successful parental alienation campaign by the other parent.
Even when a supervised visitation order is unjustified, parents must follow it if they want to retain access to their children after divorce and to keep alive any hope of having the order lifted by the court.
The Role of the Supervised Visitation Monitor
A court-ordered monitor attends every meeting between parent and child. This person prepares reports and can recommend ending all visitation based on what occurs during supervised visitation sessions. He or she can also be an ally in an effort to lift a supervised visitation order. In short, this person is an important part of your life.
How to Ensure Successful Supervised Visitation
Here are 10 top tips to make sure visitation continues and you retain a positive relationship with your child.
- Do not comment on the legal proceedings surrounding your supervised visitation order. If your child asks why the monitor is present, say, “That person is here to make sure we have a great time” or something similar.
- Keep your language clean and positive. Some monitors will regard even the casual use of vulgar and profane language as negative and include your use of it in their reports.
- Always make your scheduled visits and arrive on time. If you must cancel, notify the monitor as soon in advance as possible. An unexplained absence hurts your chances of having the supervision order rescinded. It can also send negative messages to your child about your commitment.
- Bring other family members whenever possible after obtaining permission from the monitor. If you cannot bring others, bring pictures and cards from grandparents, and other relatives.
- Ask the monitor if you can meet at a restaurant, park or another venue. Have the child help you choose a location.
- Show up for all court-ordered drug and alcohol tests. Not complying or having a positive result can affect your chances of having the supervision order lifted.
- If the court orders a home study, prepare for it. Put alcohol bottles and prescription drug containers in out-of-reach cupboards. Make sure the house is clean and picked up. You don’t need to redecorate. Just make sure that your home is safe and appropriate for a child.
- Pay your child support. If the supervised visitation is straining your finances, try to get a modification of your child support order.
- Do not ask the child about the other parent. Keep the conversation focused on the child—school, friends, activities, TV and anything else of interest.
- Plan for the time with your child. Have a mental list of conversation topics, things to do and games to play. Showing up in this way will make a great impression on the monitor.
Supervised visitation is not easy. But the alternative—having no access to your child—is even worse. It is worth it to make the best of the situation and hope for a change based on successful visits.
Get Help With Supervised Visitation
Find out about the process of having a supervised visitation order lifted. Speak with a Texas family law attorney today.