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Supervised Visitation Under Child Custody Laws

Supervised visitation is a critical component of child custody law that can often be difficult to understand. However, most Michigan courts have standard rules for supervised visitation.

Michigan Courts prioritize the child’s life, safety, and well-being while respecting parental rights. In this context, supervised visitation is governed by specific rules that we will discuss in detail. The conditions and limitations under which supervised visitation occurs will also be explained.

The Bruce Law Firm has experienced family law attorneys to help you navigate supervised visitation. Getting back to unsupervised visits is the goal for most parents. A lawyer can help facilitate this goal in most cases.

When Does the Court Order Supervised Visitation?

The Court may order supervised visitation in certain circumstances with severe concerns about the child’s safety or emotional well-being. These situations might include, but are not limited to, cases of domestic violence, drug or alcohol addiction, mental illness, or when it’s the parent’s first time establishing a relationship with the child, and the Court believes a period of transition is necessary.

Requirements for supervised visitation vary depending on the facts in each case. These orders are often not permanent and can be revised as conditions change. The judge believes the ultimate goal is to act in the child’s best interests.

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What Are the Different Types of Supervised Visitation in Michigan?

Supervised parenting time in Michigan can be of two types – professional or nonprofessional. In both types, the supervisor must be in the same room for the entire visit and may intervene or end it if they believe the child is in immediate danger.

Professional Therapist Supervised Visitation

In the case of Professional Therapist Supervised Visitation, a trained professional, typically a social worker or a therapist, supervises the interaction between the parent and child. Therapeutic parenting time is most appropriate when there are severe concerns about their child’s safety or emotional well-being.

The therapist creates a structured environment to facilitate positive parent-child interaction while ensuring the child’s emotional and physical safety.

Therapeutic visitation can also involve working with the parent to improve parenting skills and address any behavioral or emotional issues that may have precipitated the need for supervised visitation.

This form of visitation can be helpful in cases where the relationship between the child and the parent needs to be rebuilt in a safe and controlled manner. Often, in this type of visitation, the therapist will supervise visitation, make a report, and provide this to the Court.

ordered supervised visitation

Nonprofessional Supervised Visitation

Nonprofessional supervised visitation, as the name suggests, is a type of visitation where the supervisor is not a professional but typically a trusted family member or friend the Court has approved.

The individual selected for this role must be reliable and able to prioritize the child’s safety and well-being above any personal relationship with the visiting parent.

This type of supervised visitation works and often allows a more relaxed and familiar environment for the child while maintaining the necessary safeguards. However, the suitability of nonprofessional supervised visitation depends on the specific circumstances of each case and requires the Court’s approval.

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Where Will the Visits Take Place?

The location for supervised visits can significantly depend on the case’s specifics and the type of supervision ordered. Still, they are generally designed to ensure a safe, neutral, and child-friendly environment. Here are some standard options:

  • Visitation Centers: Some communities have facilities designed explicitly for supervised visitation. These locations have toys, games, and other amenities to foster a comfortable and interactive environment for the parent to spend time with their child.
  • Public Places: Visits may also occur in public parks, libraries, or fast-food restaurants with play areas. However, the supervisor must be able to observe the interaction in these settings adequately.
  • Residence of the supervisor: In some cases, especially with nonprofessional supervision, visits may occur at the supervisor’s home. This is more common when the supervisor is a trusted family member or friend.

Considering the child’s comfort and safety, it’s crucial to consult with your attorney about the most suitable location for your situation.

non custodial parent

How should I act during supervised visits?

During a supervised visit, your primary focus should be maintaining a positive and beneficial experience for your child. Here are some guidelines to consider:

  1. Be punctual. Arrive on time or even a little early. This shows respect for the supervisor’s time and, more importantly, your child’s time.
  2. Remain calm and pleasant. Anger, bitterness, or hostile behavior can make the visit uncomfortable for your child and may negatively impact future visitation rights.
  3. Focus on your child. This is your time to strengthen your relationship with your child. Focus on their interests, hobbies, and school activities.
  4. Follow the rules. Respect the rules set by the Court, the supervisor, and the custodial parent. This includes adhering to permitted topics and activities.
  5. Avoid negative talk about the other parent. This can be emotionally damaging to your child. Instead, keep the conversation positive.
  6. Leave personal issues aside. Don’t use this time to discuss any problems or controversies with the supervisor or the custodial parent.
  7. Say goodbye positively. At the end of the visit, reassure your child that you look forward to your next meeting.

Always remember that the primary goal of these visits is to ensure your child’s well-being. Keeping this in mind should guide your behavior during supervised visits.

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How long does a supervised visit last?

Supervised visits can vary in duration depending on court orders and circumstances. Initial visits are often shorter, with the length increasing as trust builds.

However, remember that the exact duration can only be determined by the Court’s order or an agreement between both parents. It is crucial to adhere to these stipulations to maintain a positive and compliant environment during visitation.

Getting Back to Unsupervised Visitation

Transitioning from supervised to unsupervised visitation is possible and is usually the ultimate goal for many noncustodial parents. Here are some steps you can take to work towards this:

  1. Understand the Reason for Supervision: Understand the specific reasons why supervised visitation was ordered in the first place. This will guide your efforts in addressing and rectifying the issues that led to it.
  2. Comply with Court Orders: Adherence to court orders, including the stipulations of the supervised visitation, is paramount. This demonstrates your commitment to your child’s welfare and respect for the Court’s decisions.
  3. Engage in Positive Parenting: Use the supervised visits to build a positive relationship with your child. Show interest in their activities, engage in meaningful conversation, and create a loving and cheerful environment during visits.
  4. Attend Parenting Classes or Counseling: If applicable, attending parenting classes or undergoing counseling can be a positive step. This shows your dedication to improving your parenting skills and putting your child’s needs first.
  5. Demonstrate Stability: Show that you can provide your child with a stable, safe, and healthy environment. This includes emotional stability, as well as physical safety and financial security.
  6. Request a Review: Once you believe you have made sufficient improvements, you can request a review of the current arrangements. This may involve a reassessment by a child welfare professional or a new court hearing.

Remember, the transition from supervised to unsupervised visitation is a process and will take time. It’s essential to be patient and focused on the ultimate goal: your child’s best interests.

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Contact a Custody Attorney Today to Discuss Your Supervised Parenting Time Issues

At The Bruce Law Firm, we understand the complexities and sensitivities surrounding primary custody and supervised parenting time. Our team of experienced attorneys is dedicated to navigating these situations with utmost professionalism and empathy.

We offer comprehensive legal services, from helping you understand the reasoning for supervised visits to guiding you toward a transition to unsupervised visitation.

We work closely with our clients, providing counsel based on each unique case and aligning our approach with the ultimate goal: ensuring your child’s best interests.

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