The Different Types of Child Visitation Explained

During a divorce that involves children, the court will decide which parent will receive physical or legal custody of a child. Parents who don’t receive custody are usually still entitled to visitation under the law. The type of visitation will depend on both parties’ input as well as the opinion of the judge after reviewing the case.

There are three main types of child visitation: unsupervised visitation, supervised visitation and virtual visitation. Let’s discuss each type in more detail.

Unsupervised Visitation

Unsupervised visitation is the most common type of visitation. It allows the parent to visit with their child in their home or on an outing during their scheduled time together, without the need for supervision. The parent with unsupervised visitation rights may be subject to certain restrictions or limitations, depending on the terms of their visitation rights.

Unsupervised visitation is only granted if the court determines that the parent with visitation rights doesn’t pose a threat to the child. This is determined through a safety assessment performed by the court. 

With this type of visitation, the parent with visitation rights typically picks up the child from the custodial parent’s home or an agreed-upon location. The parent then may transport the child to a public location or their own home, depending on the terms of the agreement.

Supervised Visitation

Supervised visitation is the opposite of unsupervised visitation. In these cases, another trusted adult must be present during visitation. Supervised visitation may be necessary if:

  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse has occurred between a parent and the child or between the two parents
  • Substance abuse by the parent exists
  • A parent suffers from a mental illness
  • There is any reason to believe a dangerous situation may occur during unsupervised visitation

Where visitation takes place is often up to the judge to decide, whether in your home or in a designated location. The judge may also assign a social worker or another individual as the trusted third party. Sometimes, supervised visitation may occur at first, which may lead to unsupervised visits if the risk is eliminated.

Virtual Visitation

Virtual visitation occurs via video and is often used in addition to one of the other types of visitation. This type of visitation is a great way for both parents to stay in touch with their child during vacations or when in-person meetings aren’t possible. We don’t recommend using virtual visitation alone, as face-to-face interaction is important for your child.

How to Go From Supervised Visitation to Unsupervised

The best way to transition from supervised visitation to unsupervised visitation is to assess what led to the call for supervised visitation in the first place. Consider these questions:

  • Have you been considered abusive to the child in the past? If so, have you sought counseling to address this issue?
  • Do you/have you had a substance abuse problem? If so, are you clean now? Are you attending Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, or some other support group?
  • Have you had a history of erratic behavior? If so, the court may worry that you will kidnap the child or become abusive. What can you do to assuage these fears?

Ultimately, the courts want to facilitate the best relationship between you and your child while also keeping the child as safe as possible. If you can address the concerns of the court, you may be able to shift your visitation from being supervised to being unsupervised.

Not Sure Which Visitation Type Is Right for You? Call an Attorney.

Visitation isn’t a decision you can make on your own. If you’re considering divorce and want to ensure you walk away with a solid visitation plan, reach out to an attorney today. You can call the Setzer Law Firm team at 817-424-5050 or send us a message. We operate out of Southlake, TX and serve the entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

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