Supervised Visitation: When the Courts Want to Preserve the Parent-Child Relationship, but It Isn’t Safe for the Child to Be Alone with the Parent
Supervised visitation with your children can feel like a blessing or a curse, depending on the circumstances. If you have just finished a jail sentence, then supervised visitation feels great; holding your children’s hands as you walk through the mall and eating with them at the mall food court is so much better than the limited contact you got in jail. If you have just broken up with your spouse and the court has ordered supervised visitation only, then the supervised visits feel like a punishment; all you can think about is how great it used to be to sit at home in your pajamas and watch TV with your kids. Most of the time, supervised visitation is temporary, a step toward longer, unsupervised visits. For some parents, though, supervised visits over an extended period are the best option. The courts often order this type of visitation when the parent is on a long road to a stable life, dealing with addiction or mental illness. If you currently have supervised visitation with your children, but you want to modify the parenting plan to have unsupervised visits, a Tennessee child custody lawyer can help.
Limited Parenting Time Can Still Help You Maintain a Bond with Your Child
Emily’s parents Melissa and Dalivus signed a parenting plan in 2009, when Emily was five years old; it granted both parents equal parenting time. Many things changed in the next five years, though. Melissa remarried and had more children; she had suffered from mental health problems before, but she was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis after the birth of Emily’s youngest sibling. Melissa was hospitalized once in late 2013 and twice in 2014 for psychiatric disturbances; the third hospital stay lasted more than 30 days. She never told Dalivus the truth about the reasons for her hospitalizations, and although she said she was receiving treatment for her mental health, she was never forthcoming with details. In February 2014, fearing for Emily’s Dalivus filed for a restraining order against Melissa and requested to be named Emily’s primary residential parent. He attached three police reports documenting Melissa’s erratic behavior.
The court granted the restraining order; in accordance with it, Melissa had to undergo drug testing every week, since her medical records indicated that cannabis had contributed to her mental health problems. She also had supervised visitation with Emily every Saturday for three hours. In December of that year, Melissa requested to increase her parenting time. Since she had continued to undergo drug testing and to receive psychiatric treatment, the court agreed to modify the parenting plan so that Melissa could have unsupervised visits with Emily every other weekend from Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon. Melissa’s husband and doctor agreed that it was not safe for her to spend more time than that alone with Emily.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
If you can give your children more stability now than you could in the past, you may be able to modify your parenting plan to get more parenting time. Contact Knoxville child custody attorney Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.