Supervised Visitation

The State of Utah recognizes a parent’s fundamental liberty interest in raising his or her children. They will ordinarily allow divorced or separated parents to have unrestricted and unsupervised access to their children. However, a court can order supervised visitation if they find the child subject to harm if left unsupervised with the parent.  They will also order supervised visitation if no less restrictive means are available to protect the child. Supervised parent-time is as it sounds. A parent may receive permission to have parent-time with the child. However, the parent cannot exercise that time alone with the child. They must have a supervisor present to oversee the parent-time.

How to Get Supervision for the Other Parent’s Visitation Time

The parent requesting supervised parent time has a great deal to do if they want the other parent’s time supervised.

First, they must prove the child could be harmed if the other parent’s time with the children was unsupervised.  Courts typically find such when the child has been subject to physical or sexual abuse. They also find this when the parent has drug addiction and has used in the presence of the children.  It can also happen if the parent has put the children in physical danger. Minor criminal charges, DUIs, disagreements between the parents are usually not enough to justify supervised parent-time. The moving party must also show that there are no less restrictive means available to protect the children. This means that the party must show the court that there is nothing else the court can do to protect the children except order the supervised parent-time.

Supervised parent-time is not something that a court typically orders absent extreme circumstances. The court sees supervised parent time as an extreme remedy and will only order it if no better option exists. If you are considering asking a court to order supervised parent-time for the other parent, please consult with the Utah custody lawyers at Christensen Law to make sure that your situation justifies such an extreme remedy.

What to Expect from the Court

If the court orders supervised parent-time, the court will give preference to a supervisor suggested and agreed to by the parties, including any relatives. Then, if the suggested person is willing to supervise, and the court finds them capable, they will authorize the person to supervise the parent-time. If the parties cannot authorize anyone, the court can require professional services to supervise the parent’s parent-time.

Every time the court orders supervised parent time, the court must provide specific goals and expectations for the parent to accomplish before unsupervised they get parent-time. The court will hold follow-up hearings to review the parent’s progress with the specific goals and expectations. The parent with supervised parent time may file a petition to modify the order at any time. They just need to show they’ve accomplished the goals and expectations set by the court. If you have supervised visitation with your children and want to get the supervision removed, please consult with the Utah custody lawyers at Christensen Law to see if you have a case to have the supervised visitation removed.

Peter ChristensenSupervised Visitation