The court recognizes that children typically benefit from having both parents in their lives, and family law judges keep this in mind when evaluating custody arrangements. At the end of the day, though, the court strives to act in the best interests of the children, and some parents are simply not responsible or reliable enough to look after their kids.
In order to protect children while still granting them the opportunity to spend time with a potentially irresponsible parent, the courts have devised a system called “supervised visitation.” Pursuant to Section 452.375 of the Missouri Statutes, individuals who have been convicted of certain criminal offenses or who live with those who have been convicted of certain offenses cannot have unsupervised visitation with their children.
If you are in the middle of divorce proceedings and you would like to learn more about possible custody arrangements, contact Behrens Law Firm, LLC. Barbara L. Behrens has been practicing law for more than three decades, and she can help you avoid costly mistakes during your custody battle. Call 314-499-6999 to schedule a consultation with a family attorney in St. Louis.
What Is Supervised Visitation?
Supervised visitation is a court-ordered arrangement in which a parent may only spend time with his or her children in a safe, supervised, and controlled environment. Since Missouri courts operate under the belief that continuous, frequent, and meaningful contact with both parents is usually in a child’s best interests, supervised visitation allows for such contact without putting the children in a potentially dangerous situation.
In the state of Missouri, supervised visitation refers to visitation that occurs in the presence of a responsible adult whom the court has appointed. Sometimes, a judge may appoint a social worker to act as a paid supervisor. In other cases, another family member may be allowed to supervise the visits.
If the family has limited financial resources or there is no suitable relative who can serve as the supervisor, parents may be able to take advantage of a court-sponsored facility that provides these services for free.
Why Might a Judge Order Supervised Visitation?
If you do not have a criminal record and your lifestyle or health does not pose a threat to your children, you typically do not have to worry about supervised visitation. In general, a judge will order supervised visits for parents who have a history of:
- Substance abuse;
- Sexual abuse;
- Domestic violence;
- Mental illness; or
This is not an exhaustive list, and a judge may order supervised visitation if there is any potentially dangerous family situation. In order to do so, though, there must be sufficient evidence that the child could be in danger without supervision.
Every case involving supervised visitation is different, but they all have something in common: They are emotionally draining for all parties involved. If there is a chance that you or your ex-spouse is going to require supervision when spending time with your children, an experienced family attorney can serve as the voice of reason every step of the way.
If you are considering divorce, contact Behrens Law Firm, LLC. Call 314-499-6999 to schedule a consultation with a compassionate child custody lawyer in St. Louis. You can learn more about custody laws in Missouri by visiting usattorneys.com/child-custody-lawyers/missouri.