Any time there is a history of family violence, child abuse, drug and/or alcohol abuse, or general neglect, a court can order supervised visitation. Supervised visitation means that a third party will have to be present any time there is a visitation scheduled between the non-custodial parent and the child.
In Georgia, the preferred policy of the court is that children maintain a relationship with both parents and have frequent contact with both parents while a marriage is dissolving. This is why the policy is geared towards supervised visitation privileges versus the alternative -- no visitation at all.
Generally, a licensed social worker or other child care professional will be the one to supervise visits. They are not only responsible for monitoring the interactions between parent and child, but will also take notes about the child’s well being. That’s right, they are not just there to observe, but to take notes as well in order to report back to the court.
Be aware that it is not forbidden that family members serve as supervisors, but it is rare and the court would have to approve an arrangement like that.
You can expect that the supervisor will merely observe during your visit. They are there to watch and take notes. The only time they will interrupt a visit is if they believe that a child is in danger of being harmed in some way. As long as the well being of the child is the first priority of everyone in the room, the supervisor will not take part in the visit.
Supervision is not free. There are costs associated with this service. Whichever parent is requesting the visitation may likely be the parent responsible for paying supervisory costs, unless the court believes that in order to enforce parental responsibility, it is necessary for the supervised parent to pay for the service.
If you have a history of substance abuse or violence, and you want to have a relationship with your children while you are getting the help you need, there is a path forward. It will be difficult, but as stated above, the court wants a child to have interactions with both parents if at all possible.
The first step is to get an attorney who is experienced in handling negative material. They can guide you through the divorce process and, hopefully, preserve your visitation rights with supervision. You will have to prove to the court over time that you have made significant changes in your life and can comply with all visitation regulations before you can think of taking future steps. It can be done.
If you are in Henry, Clayton, or Fayette counties, or in the metro Atlanta area, and you need help with a difficult custody or visitation case, Family Matters Law Group is ready to fight for you. We believe in fighting hard for what is in the best interests of the child.
Contact us today to set up an initial consultation. Simply use our convenient online contact form. We look forward to talking with you and hearing your story.