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Understanding California law on supervised visitation

Many parents in Sacramento who have gone through a divorce have learned that the emotional turmoil doesn't always end when the judge signs the decree dissolving the marriage. For couples with children, the emotional aftermath of a divorce can be painful and disruptive, especially if one parent believes that the children are not safe in the unsupervised custody of the other parent. To resolve problems with child custody and visitation, courts often order supervised visitation.

Under a supervised visitation order, a neutral third party must be present when a child has contact with the designated parent. Supervised visitation is ordered for many reasons, including to give the visiting parent an opportunity to address specific issues with the child, to help reintroduce the child and parent after a long separation, help kindle a relationship if the parent and child had no previous relationship or protecting the child if the visiting parent has a history of domestic violence, substance abuse or child abuse and neglect or if abduction is a possibility.

The court will specify the terms of the supervised visitation, including frequency and duration of the visits and where the visits will take place. The court may even specify the party who will provide the supervised visitation services. Providers fall into two categories: non-professional and professional. Non-professional providers are usually family members or trusted friends. Professional providers are trained to provide supervision services, and they will charge a fee for their services. Both professional and non-professional providers must adhere to rules and standards promulgated by the state.

Anyone who has questions about supervised visitation may wish to consult a lawyer who handles custody and visitation disputes. An experienced attorney can review the rules for supervised visitation and explain whether and how supervision may be appropriate in the particular case.

Source: Judicial Branch of California, "Supervised Visitation," accessed on Oct. 31, 2017

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