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Can Unsupervised Visitation Be Reinstated in Child Custody?


Can Unsupervised Visitation Be Reinstated in Child Custody?

A parent granted supervised visitation looks forward to the day they can spend time with their child on their own. Until then, time with their child must be coordinated with the schedule of the supervisor. Meaningful bonding can be hampered by the limited time and the presence of someone else.

Before regular parenting time can occur again, the family court must modify the current custody order that mandates supervised visitation. An attorney experienced in visitation rights for non-custodial parents can argue your case and present evidence in support of the modification.

What Is Supervised Visitation?

Rhode Island family law recognizes that whenever possible, children should have meaningful time with each parent. In many divorces, the former couple negotiates an agreement where one parent has primary physical custody while the other receives parenting time with the child. If the judge finds the agreement to be in the best interests of the child, the negotiated agreement will be entered as a court order.

When the parents cannot agree, they may be ordered to attend mediation and possibly end in a trial where the family court judge determines custody and visitation. Rhode Island law supports both parents having a relationship with their children, giving noncustodial parents meaningful time with their kids.

When the court sees evidence that a noncustodial parent could potentially pose a danger to the child, supervised visitation might be granted. The child is kept safe while still supporting the parent/child relationship.

The following are reasons why a court may require supervised visitation:

  • The parent has a history of substance abuse.
  • There is present or past domestic violence.
  • There is concern that a parent may try to abduct the child.
  • The child was exposed to inappropriate care.
  • The parent has mental health issues.

During supervised visits, the child and parent spend time together in the presence of a third party. Sometimes the court may approve of a monitor that the parents select. In other cases, the court appoints a professional supervised visitation monitor.

Rhode Island’s Domestic Relations laws also outline when visitation can be denied altogether.

Making the Most of Supervised Visitation

Most parents dislike supervised visitation, but they can use these visits as steppingstones to regular visitation. Their relationship with their child can be strengthened during their time together. A bonus to that bonding is that the person supervising the interaction can report back to the judge that the visits with your child were positive. That type of witness will speak volumes about the character of your connection to your child.

Create deeper bonds with your child and create a foundation for possible future regular visitation by doing the following:

  • Be on time for your visit.
  • Be respectful of the supervisor.
  • Interact with your child by talking, reading, and playing.
  • Take photos to document how you spent your time with your child.
  • Never be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Don’t cancel any scheduled visits.

In addition to supervision, the court may also place other requirements. Completing these requirements is critical to show the judge that you are ready for regular visitation.

Other mandates that can be ordered by a judge are:

  • Complete substance abuse treatment.
  • Attend counseling sessions.
  • Establish a home suitable for children.
  • Participate in parenting programs.
  • Be adequately employed.
  • Pay you child support.

Through supervised visits and other actions you take, you can show the court your fitness as a parent and the importance of your relationship with your child.

Fighting for Regular Visitation

Most parents under supervised visitation want to be allowed to have regular visitation with their children. It is possible to modify a parenting plan.

Our lawyers at McIntyre Tate, LLP have experience in fighting for our clients’ child visitation wishes. We know the types of evidence and testimony required before a judge will consider changing the court-ordered parenting plan. We also anticipate and counter the objections of the other parent. If the court finds supervised visitation is unnecessary, unsupervised visitation will be allowed.

If you want to change your current visitation plan, schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team. Call (401) 351-7700 or submit our online form to schedule. We will provide honest feedback and determine if we can help and the possible next steps.

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