When a child is scheduled to have visitation with a non-custodial parent (that, is a parent who does not have primary custody of his or her child), it is not unusual for a court to insist that the visitation time be supervised by an outside party. This is done whenever a court feels it is necessary in order to protect a child’s safety. A supervisor is intended to be a “fly on the wall,” who is there to ensure the child’s well-being, and not otherwise interfere with the visitation.
Supervised visitation is often ordered due to concerns that the non-custodial parent may not be able to provide a safe environment for his or her child during the visitation period. However, this is not always the reason for it. It is also common for courts to insist on supervision during the period of time when children are transferred from one parent to another (that is, when the kids are picked up or dropped off.) This is typically done when there is animosity between the parents, and there are concerns about what kinds of interactions they could have during the transfer period.
Visitation Rights in Illinois
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act lays out the standards for visitation rights. Under the statute, a non-custodial parent is entitled to “reasonable” visitation rights, unless a court holds a hearing and determines that visitation with the parent would “endanger seriously the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.” The statute holds that even in instances where a parent cannot provide the court with a street address, the court will be required to identify reasonable alternative arrangements for visitation. (Visitation does not always have to take place at the parent’s home. There are facilities that provide supervised parenting time, such as the DuPage County Family Center, which provides this service free of charge.)
People often think of the supervisors themselves as being paid employees. While many supervisors are paid professionals, this is not always the case. In Illinois, supervisors can be friends, relatives, or members of the parents’ religious community, so long as they have been approved by the court.
There are no set standards for how long supervised visitation will last. It is up to the courts to determine when supervision is no longer necessary. The supervisors often serve as the eyes and ears of the court in such matters – judges often place a lot of importance on the feedback they get from supervisors regarding the quality of visitation time.
Finding Appropriate Legal Counsel
If you are unsatisfied with your visitation arrangements – or you are in the midst of a custody dispute, and you are concerned about how the court will arrange visitation – you may wish to speak to a lawyer. Being represented in court can help you obtain the best possible outcome for you and your child. The attorneys at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. in Naperville, Illinois have a great deal of experience in family law. Call us today at (630) 961-0060 to discuss your case.