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Supervised Visitation and Monitored Exchanges

Updated on October 21, 2007

Family court can be a confusing place. When kids are in the middle of conflict, especially when they are in any potential or perceived danger, supervised visitation may be necessary. This is an arrangement where they are allowed to spend time with a non-custodial parent only under supervision. The person supervising is usually a social worker, psychologist, or other court appointed guardian who is charged with protecting the child's rights.

Even Britney Spears had to have supervised visitation.

Although many parents and grandparents assume that visitation is a right, it is actually a privilege that the court has the power to revoke in executing its duty to act in the best interests of the child. A common reason for limited or supervised visitation is in cases where there has been a history of domestic violence.

Monitored Exchanges

In a highly contentious divorce, monitored exchanges may be appropriate. In a monitored exchanged the parents agree to prearranged times for the custodial parent or guardian to take the child to a neutral meeting place where the visiting parent picks up and drops off the child. The drop off and pick up times can be staggered so that parents don't have to see one another. This can save the child the stress of witnessing parents in conflict.


Supervised Visitation Network

Supervised Visitation Directory

Interview with an Expert

I spoke with social worker, Lara Sandusky to find out what parents and others need to know about supervised visitation.

LD: What is Supervised Visitation?

LS: Supervised Visitation refers to contact between a non-custodial parent and one or more children in the presence of a third person responsible for observing and seeking to ensure the safety of those involved. As defined by the Supervised Visitation Network.

Most clients who receive these services are non-custodial parents or guardians and are court ordered to do so.

LD: What options do parents have for Supervised Visitation arrangements?

LS: Unfortunately, in many states their options are limited. AVEC is the primary resource for Supervised Visitation and/or Exchanges. However, a parent might be able to convince a friend and/or relative to assist with monitoring (if that person is deemed "neutral" by the court).

Time wise, most visits will occur after school and work hours (evening) and weekends.

LD: Who is appropriate to provide supervision in these situations?

LS: Visitation Supervisors are neutral and as such are able to provide an independent assessment of the parent/child interaction to the court or other involved professionals. It is important that someone NOT related to either parent or have a vested interest in either parents custody arrangement supervise the visits. Often times when family members or friends supervise visitations, the court and others question that person's neutrality which can have an adverse effect of the court case.


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    7 years ago

    My 23 month old baby's father is a cocaine and crystal meth addict. He is also an alcoholic, abused by his father as a child (alcoholic and drug addict also). His father died in a mental hospital because wanted to kill his wife and daughter in law with a knife. He ended up with drug overdose at a hospital in April of last year and even though I have shown that evidence to the mediator, the mediator has not agreed with monitored visitation. I just want to protect my child from her alcoholic, drug addict, bipolar psycho father. I am running out of options and money to pay attorneys. The last attorney told me I had to accept everything the mediator recommended. I know something is going to happen to my baby if someone is not there to monitor him.

  • profile image

    Bonnie Russell 

    9 years ago

    What's important for people to realize is these monitors have no oversight. And they earn their money from making sure people keep returning. What began as an "emergency" band-aid has no become yet another cottage industry. I know one man who was on Supervised Visitation for Eight years. He objected to the step-father, having close contact with his daughter. The step father is a registered sex offender. The father who blew the whistle, was demonized. The therapist had married the sex offender and the courts liked her better.

    You can't make this stuff up.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    No. What is needed is a neutral individual.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    Can the other parent that has been with the child since birth be the supervised person that stays with the child & father


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