Generally, when a couple gets divorced, the non-custodial parent is granted visitation rights to make sure they can continue to be involved in the child’s life and fulfill their duties as a parent. However, if there is reason to believe that being left alone with the non-custodial parent could be harmful for the child, the court might order supervised visitation — an arrangement wherein the non-custodial parent can visit the child only under the supervision of a third-party.
At Davis Law Group, we know that visitation rights can be a contentious issue in a divorce case, especially if one parent believes that the child could be in danger if left alone with the other parent. Whether you are the custodial parent or the non-custodial parent, our legal team, headed by seasoned child custody and visitation lawyer Jay Davis, can protect your rights, negotiate with the other side, and work out a visitation arrangement which is in the best interests of your child.
How Does a Supervised Visitation Arrangement Work in Massachusetts?
Under a supervised visitation arrangement, the non-custodial parent can visit and spend time with their child only in the presence of a court-appointed supervisor. The supervisor is required to monitor the interaction between the parent and the child and stay close enough to see what they do and to hear what they say to each other.
Depending on the circumstances, the court might decide to appoint a professional supervisor — picked from the list of qualified supervisors maintained by the Administrative Office of the Probate and Family Court. In some other cases, the court might agree to appoint a non-professional supervisor — proposed by the parents.
The supervisor has the right to cancel a visit or intervene during the course of a visit if they believe that the child could be in danger or if the non-custodial parent violates the terms of the visitation agreement.
Circumstances under Which Supervised Visitation Might Be Necessary
The most common circumstances under which the court might decide to order supervised visitation include:
- If the non-custodial parent has a documented history of abusing alcohol, recreational drugs, prescription drugs, or any other prohibited substance.
- If the non-custodial parent was physically, sexually, or emotionally abusive toward the custodial parent.
- If the non-custodial parent abandoned their duties as a parent and neglected the child.
- If the non-custodial parent was abusive toward the child.
- If the non-custodial parent suffers from a mental illness that can affect their ability to provide a safe environment for the child.
There are a number of other factors that the court might take into account to decide whether supervised visitation is necessary in a particular case. These factors are outlined in the guide called “Supervised Visitation Risk Assessment for Judges,” which is provided to all the judges of the Probate and Family Court in Massachusetts.
Divorce attorney Jay Davis is committed to protecting the rights and interests of custodial as well as non-custodial parents. If you are a custodial parent who wants to ensure the safety and well-being of your child, we can work with you, explain your concerns to the court, and emphasize the need for supervised visitation.
On the other hand, if you are a non-custodial parent who believes that your rights have been violated due to exaggerated allegations by your spouse, we can take steps to make sure your parental rights are not unfairly curtailed without any valid reason.
Common Provisions Included in Supervised Visitation Orders in Massachusetts
A supervised visitation order in Massachusetts usually contains the following provisions.
- The reason for issuing the order and the concerns regarding the safety and well-being of the child.
- The name of the supervisor.
- The kind of supervision required to ensure the safety of the child.
- When, where, and for how long the non-custodial parent can visit the child.
Conditions That Might Be Imposed On the Non-Custodial Parent
Depending on the circumstances, the court might impose a number of conditions on the non-custodial parent to ensure the safety and well-being of the child and the other parent if necessary. These might include:
- Completing an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program.
- Completing a batterer’s treatment program.
- Going to a therapist.
- Abstaining from drinking, doing drugs, or consuming any controlled substance for a period of 24 to 48 hours prior to visitation.
Choose Skilled and Trustworthy Visitation Rights Attorneys in Massachusetts
Family law attorney Jay Davis and his legal team at Davis Law Group have handled several cases involving supervised visitation arrangements over the years and are aware of the issues that might arise in such an arrangement. Whether you are a custodial parent or a non-custodial parent, we can talk to you, understand your concerns, and fight hard to protect your rights.
We can work on your behalf with the other party to come up with a visitation arrangement which is in the best interests of all the parties involved — especially your children. To find out more about your visitation rights, call us today at 617-221-3548 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation with a competent Massachusetts visitation rights attorney from our firm.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
Thank you for reading. Need to talk? 617-221-3548