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Family Law Basics: supervised parenting time
Family Law Basics: supervised parenting time

Sometimes, the Court may order or parties may agree that a parent’s parenting time needs to be supervised to protect a child’s best interests.  Supervision may take place with an agreed-upon person (such as a family member or friend) or with a professional supervisor.

Supervised parenting time consists of scheduled sessions of parenting time with a third party present.  Depending on the situation that led to the supervision requirement, this could range from the supervisor being at the other side of a park from the child and parent, to a requirement that supervision take place at a supervision center.

Supervised parenting time is generally intended to be temporary, and to give time to the supervised parent to address a safety issue.  In some cases, such as when a parent has abused a child, or has not engaged in treatment for substance abuse, supervision may be a long-term necessity.

Supervision can get expensive.  Some facilities offer a sliding scale based on income, but if that isn’t an option, prepare to pay from $60 to $120 per hour for parenting time.

Some families have friends or family members who are willing to supervise parenting time.  This has pros and cons.  Generally, there won’t be a cost for a third party to supervise.  However, it can put the supervisor in an awkward position if a visit doesn’t go well. It’s the supervisor’s responsibility to intervene if there is a safety risk or other concerning behavior.

Some parents plan for one to supervise the other parent’s parenting time.  Though this is cost-effective, I generally warn against it. It’s difficult for either parent to put aside the disputes that led to the supervision requirement, and if there is the necessity to end the visit early, there can be credibility issues for both parents if there is a disagreement.

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