Courts have long recognized the importance of both parents being involved in the lives of their children. This is why they are apt to ensure that both parents have time with the children as part of the divorce settlement.
However, there are instances where the court feels a need to protect the children because of allegations that have been made. While still wanting to give the parent access to their children, they feel that this must be done in a monitored situation, leading to supervised visitation.
What is Supervised Parenting Time?
The role of supervised visitation or supervised parenting time is to provide a safe and supervised environment where children and parents can still have time together, but the risk for a dangerous situation is eliminated. This kind of visitation is applied when the court deems that there is the potential for a high-risk situation to arise, such as abuse.
Usually, this kind of parenting time is granted when an allegation of abuse has been made by one parent about the other, but evidence may not be in place to support the allegation. The court wants to ensure that the safety of the child, which is paramount above all things, is maintained. But they also want to ensure that the relationship between the parent and child is still maintained.
As ugly as it may sound, there are situations where a parent is abusing the child and the court must protect the child or children. There were also those situations where one parent is using the allegation of abuse as a means to deny the other parent access to the child. While the court must protect the interests and safety of the child, they also want to ensure that both parents are able to help in the nurturing process of the children.
You Have the Right to See Your Children
Unless there is evidence of abuse, both parents have the right to see their children. In fact, this right has been guaranteed by the Supreme Court of the United States, which has found that the ability to care for one’s children is a fundamental liberty guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
When there is not an overt threat to the child’s safety, each parent must have the right to be able to visit and spend time with their children. The creation of supervised parenting time ensures that both parents are granted the ability to care for their children, and for the children to be able to maintain their relationship with each parent.
It should be noted that in instances where abuse is involved, this does not deny you the right to see your children. Courts have long deemed that it is important that relationship still be maintained, as long as the parent who is accused of abuse has been seeking the proper remedies to ensure behavior like this will not continue.
Supervised parenting time is a way that the parent is able to continue to build that relationship without putting the child at risk. There are agents who are specially trained to monitor and supervise the interaction to ensure that it is occurring in a beneficial way for both parties.
Who Can Supervise the Parenting Time?
If you have been mandated for supervised parenting time, you should be aware that this can occur in different ways. There are local agencies in Arizona that provide this kind of service, which are generally accepted by the court as a safe place for the parenting time to occur.
This does not have to be at a formal agency, however. Supervised parenting time can include a grandparent monitoring, a different close relative, or a third party deemed by the court to be responsible for ensuring the safety of the child during this time. It is actually a determination of the court as to who can be the supervising agent during this time.
You should come with suggestions for the court if you find yourself in a situation where the court is leaning toward supervised parenting time. A parent who looks like they want to be involved in the care and growth of the child will demonstrate a proactive attitude, one where they are seeking to abide by the court’s directive. Make sure that whatever recommendations you give are ones that demonstrate a clear understanding that the child’s health and welfare are first and foremost on your mind.
Supervised Parenting Time Doesn’t Have to Last Forever
If you have been required to have supervised parenting time, know that this is not forever. You can petition the court after a certain amount of time to have this stipulation removed. If you have demonstrated that you have met the court’s requirements, they will be apt to allow you to visit the child, and even allow him or her to spend time with you in a completely unsupervised situation. You must meet the requirements mandated by the court to earn this possibility.
The Court Determines the Necessity of Supervised Parenting Time in Arizona
While you have the right to care for your children, also understand that Arizona law gives judges the authority to order supervised parenting time. This does not even need to be part of the divorce or separation decree. At any point during the child’s formative years, one parent can petition the court asking for supervised parenting time for the other parent. There must be grounds that support this, but you should be aware that this is a possibility.
You should also be aware that the court has the right to terminate your parental rights altogether. If you have been neglecting or abusing your children in some way, the court can find that it is not in the best interest of the children to be around you.
If an allegation is being made of some kind of abuse on your part, it is imperative that you protect your rights. You need a proven attorney who understands the legalities and challenges you are facing, and who is prepared to fight to protect your rights as a parent.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.