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Supervised Visitation in Pennsylvania: The Details Vary, but the Goal Is Always to Keep Children Safe and in Contact with Both Parents

May 19, 2020

You do not have to be perfect to deserve to have a relationship with your children. Your ex might try to intimidate you by threatening to tell the court about all the bad things you have done so that you will never be allowed to see the children again, but except in the most extreme circumstances, they can’t take away your right to be a parent. The children’s best interest is the court’s first priority. Caselaw shows that the most important component of a child’s wellbeing is physical safety, but a continuing relationship with both legal parents is also important for children. When the court has reason to believe that the children will not be safe if left alone with one of the parents, it might order supervised visitation, also known as supervised physical custody. The child custody lawyers at Iwanyshyn & Associates can help you set up supervised physical custody or move from a supervised custody arrangement to an unsupervised one.

How Does Supervised Visitation Work?

When there is a documented reason to believe that one parent might endanger the children, the courts usually order supervised parenting time, rather than completely forbidding the parent to see the children. These are some common reasons that courts order supervised physical custody:

⦁ Domestic violence not resulting in physical injury to the children

⦁ Child neglect not resulting in serious injury to the children

⦁ Drug abuse by the parent

⦁ The parent’s mental illness is not well-managed

In most cases, the judge simply specifies in the court order that a certain other person must be present during the parenting time. For example, if Dad was arrested for drug possession at a traffic stop while the children were in the car and then was sentenced to probation in his criminal case, the court might order that the children can be with Dad every week from Saturday evening until Sunday evening, but Dad’s mother must be present the whole time.

Supervised physical custody is usually a parent’s first point of contact with a child after a long absence, for example, because of a restraining order, incarceration, inpatient addiction treatment, or hospitalization for mental illness. If no extended family members are available to supervise the visits, or if the court determines that having the children spend time with the parent and the other relative is too risky, visits sometimes take place at supervised visitation centers. These are privately owned facilities where children can have supervised visits with their parents in the presence of trained staff.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Helps You Preserve Your Relationship with Your Children in Difficult Circumstances

Supervised visits are an important step in regaining the right to unsupervised parenting time with your children. If you have not seen your children in a long time, now is the time to establish supervised visitation. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Pittsburgh for help setting up supervised visits or modifying your child custody order to allow for unsupervised visits.