When someone in Maryland talks about supervised visitation, they are referring to an arrangement where a parent can only visit the child under the supervision of another adult. This can be a family member or a social worker. The supervision can occur either at the parent’s home or at a designated facility.
Reasons for supervised visitation
A judge orders supervised visitation when there are concerns about the visiting parent’s behavior or fitness. This may be due to a history of substance misuse or alcohol abuse. The parent may also be accused of abuse or domestic violence. Supervised visitation aims to ensure that both parents have the opportunity to maintain contact with their children, even if one does not have child custody. At the same time, it provides a safe and comfortable environment for the child.
How supervised visits function
The judge determines the supervisor for the session. The visiting parent usually needs to report to the designated visitation location. Alternatively, the judge may arrange for the child to be delivered to the visiting parent’s home.
The court system takes allegations of violence and abuse seriously. Therefore, supervised visitation can be either temporary or indefinite. Allegations of abuse and domestic violence must be thoroughly investigated before allowing any unsupervised visits.
Use of friends and family
The judge can order a friend or family member to supervise the visit. In such cases, the visit can occur at a community setting, restaurant or park. In most instances, the supervisor is approved by both parents when a friend or family member is selected. Typically, the judge will require the supervisor to have continuous visibility of the noncustodial parent and the child.
Although supervised visits can be challenging for the noncustodial parent, they provide an opportunity to maintain a relationship with the child. If their circumstances improve, parents may have the chance to contest supervised visitation in the future.