Parenting plans and child custody (referred to in Texas as conservatorship) agreements are supposed to address the best interests of the child. An essential part of this is determining a visitation schedule. While this is often complicated, it is even more so when the agreement dictates, or a judge orders supervised visitation of a parent which may result from a pattern or history of substance abuse or family violence allegations.
How supervised visitation works
These provisions stipulate where, when and the circumstances under which a parent spends time with their child. There will be another adult present — often it is either another adult family member, often but not always agreed to by the parties, or a licensed social worker.
The reasons for doing this usually revolve around questions of a parent’s fitness, often because of addiction to alcohol or illegal substances, potential risk of kidnapping, or accusations of physical abuse or domestic violence. The purpose of supervised visitation under these controlled circumstances is to allow the parent to maintain or rebuild a relationship with their children if it is in the best interests of the children to do so.
Are these arrangements long term?
This is up to the judge to decide. If there are allegations involving abuse, the judge often orders supervised visits on a temporary basis until the allegations are thoroughly investigated. The judge, however, may have already made up their mind that visits will be monitored until there are changes in the life or life-style of the non-custodial parent.
Changing the court order or agreement
These agreements, which need a judge’s approval, are often put in place as a stepping-stone to unsupervised visitation, but supervised visitation will remain in place until a time when the judge signs off on a change. This often involves a home evaluation and other proof of changes, such as repeated drug testing, counseling or treatment.
Those parents who have questions about supervised visitation should speak with an experienced Board-certified Family Law expert attorney in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County, Midland County, Ector County, and surrounding areas of Texas. These legal professionals can help parents fight for their parental rights in court or help the family revise the parenting plan when it is in the best interests of the children.