Supervised Visitation in California

Families and even parentage in the absence of a marriage can be complicated, but for a mother or father to lose their parental rights, they usually have to do something extreme, like commit severe child abuse or child sexual abuse, suffer from severe mental illness, or willfully abandon their child in a dangerous situation.

Under California law, the state is supposed to protect the best interests of children at all times, especially in domestic violence cases, child sexual abuse cases, and cases where one parent has been absent from the child’s life for a long time.

Sometimes, a situation will arise in a divorce,domestic violence, legal separation, or child custody case and a judge will decide that it is in the child’s best interests to established “supervised visitation,” which we’ll explain below.

Why Supervised Visitation?

When people think of supervised visitation, what usually comes to mind is a history of child abuse and for good reason. While many cases involving supervised visitation are based on a history of child abuse, that is not the case 100 percent of the time. Supervised visitation can also be ordered under the following circumstances:

  • One parent is mentally ill.
  • One parent has committed a violent crime against someone other than the child.
  • Paternity was recently established and the child has never met their biological father before, or it’s been a long time since they saw each other.
  • The parent has been gone for a long time.
  • The parent has a history of substance abuse.
  • The parent has been incarcerated for an offense that endangers the child.
  • There is a threat of parental kidnapping.

“Sometimes, based on issues of protection and safety, a judge will order that a child only have contact with a parent when a neutral third person is present during the visitation. This type of third-person visitation arrangement is often called ‘supervised visitation,’ according to the California Courts.

Have questions about supervised visitation? Or, do you need assistance with another child custody or family law matter? Contact our Ventura divorce firm today!