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Supervised Visitation in Pennsylvania

By Sheryl Rentz on July 15, 2022

Supervised visitation may seem like a distressing situation, being able to see your child only with someone else present.

If you are considering a divorce and want to know your options, whether you will be the parent supervised or the custodial parent, contact an experienced Pennsylvania divorce attorney who can guide you through the process.

What Is Supervised Visitation?

Supervised visitation refers to a parent requiring a qualified supervisor to be present at all times when they are visiting their child. This is the only requirement, hence, the visit can involve anything the child/parent wishes. The supervisor is only there to ensure the child’s safety.

The court values a parent’s relationship with their child and therefore you do not need to be perfect to retain the right to see them. The priority remains the child’s best interests, but the court understands the importance a continued relationship with both parents plays in a child’s wellbeing.

When the court has reason to believe that the child will not be safe if left alone with one of the parents, it might order supervised visitation. An experienced family law lawyer can help you set up supervised physical custody or move from a supervised custody arrangement to an unsupervised one.

How Does This Visitation Work?

Supervised visitation typically results when the court has documented reason to believe a child’s safety is threatened if left alone with one parent. Rather than completely taking away parenting and visitation rights, the court will order supervised parenting time. Common reasons for this order include:

  • Domestic violence which hasn’t resulted in physical injury to the child
  • Child neglect which hasn’t resulted in serious injury to the child
  • Substance abuse by the parent
  • Unmanaged mental illness of the parent

How Is the Supervisor Designated?

The majority of cases will see the court issue a court order, which specifies that a certain other person must be present during the supervised parenting time, e.g., the father’s mother.

When Does the Court Designate a Specific Visitation Center?

While it is typically sufficient for a family member to be the supervisor, in some cases no extended family members are available, or the court may deem the visit to be high risk and as such determine that a qualified professional supervisor who has been trained in overseeing such visits must be present.

Sometimes visits of this kind take place at supervised visitation centers. These are privately owned facilities where children can have supervised visits with their parents in the presence of trained staff.

Can You Move to Unsupervised Visitation Following a Supervised Visitation Order?

In order to modify a supervised visitation order, you need to establish that your circumstance has changed. You also need an experienced family law attorney to help communicate these positive changes to the court.

Supervised visits are an important step in regaining the right to unsupervised parenting time with your children. If you have not seen your children in a long time, now is the time to establish supervised visitation.

Contact the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C. today at (610) 645-0100 for help setting up supervised visits or modifying your child custody order to allow for unsupervised visits.

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Posted in: Child Visitation

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