Smart Parenting During and After Divorce: When to Seek Supervised Visitation
If you feel your co-parent is a danger to your children's health and well-being, you can ask the court to require supervised visitation, in which the co-parent's visitation is monitored by another person. When supervised visitation is really needed, it can save a child's life. When supervised visitation is not needed, it is one of the most humiliating experiences a parent can go through during a high-conflict divorce or post-divorce action.
Understanding Supervised Visitation
There are instances where parents and children do need to be supervised. Supervised facilities range from those that are watched over by armed guards to those that are more friendly. Information on supervised visitation facilities is usually available through the court. For many years I ran a supervised visitation establishment called The SmartParenting House in a very quaint and comfortable house. Parents visited there and learned good parenting skills in an environment that was an approximation of a natural setting. Parents cooked for their children and learned how to change diapers and do other parenting chores.
Everything that happened in the house was recorded on videotape, and there were cameras in every room that relayed images to a supervisor's room. There was usually one social worker at the video bank and one social worker who managed the session.
Each social worker carried panic buttons in case there was a problem. In the tens of thousands of supervised visitation hours I have conducted, there have been very few problems during visitation, and merely a handful of problems in the parking lot. We do not let parents come and go from the same doors in many of my establishments. It is good to look for supervised visitation facilities that keep an eye toward safety.
Supervised visitation time is usually one to two hours per week, so children really do not get that much time to visit with their parents. While my facilities provided cooking facilities, cable television, video games, books, and toys, many establishments do not. Some of the state-run supervised visitation facilities are large auditoriums with long tables that cannot help but remind me of visitation facilities in some of the jails I have worked in. The development of humane and comfortable supervised visitation facilities is something I hope people at each state and community level will take a stronger interest in.
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