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Why is supervised visitation used?

You're trying to get visitation rights so that you can still see your child after the divorce, and you've heard that the court can order supervised visitation in certain cases. Why is this used and what would it mean for you?

What it would mean is that you don't see your child on your own. A court-appointed individual has to be there at the same time. So, not only do you not get custody, but you only spend time with your child in a controlled setting.

Whom the court appoints depends on the situation. In some cases, it may be another family member. For example, you may get to visit every Saturday, but only when your ex is also at the house. In other cases, it may be a social worker or a counselor. This can help because that person is legally certified to deal with these situations and because it defuses tension between you and your ex.

The reasons for supervised visitation vary, but it often stems from a question about the child's safety. A common example is drug use. If you've been convicted many times, the court may determine that being alone with the child creates a potentially dangerous setting. The supervisor ensures that you're sober during the visits.

You may even be able to take steps to have the supervision lifted. If you go to therapy and prove you can stay sober, for instance, the court may lift the restrictions and give you standard visitation rights.

When your relationship with your child is the most important part of your divorce, be sure you fully understand all of your legal rights.

Source: The Spruce, "What is Supervised Visitation?," Jennifer Wolf, accessed Nov. 03, 2017

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