Maybe you didn’t see it coming. While the divorce was being finalized, the judge agreed to your spouse’s request that not only will she retain full legal and physical custody, but also that you will only be allowed supervised visitation.
While it’s not a complicated description, this basically means that you will not get to spend time with your children unless there is a chaperone present.
Generally, the parents will be asked by the court to select an individual to handle the supervising duties. Of course, any agreements between divorced couples come with their own set of thorns, and there is always some worry that the supervisor won’t be able to stand up to a threatening non-custodial parent.
As for the why behind the decision, Florida State University’s website outlined the different reasons behind the law regarding supervised visitation, which included:
- Prevention of child abuse
- To ensure the bond between the parent and child isn’t broken
- To limit any potential ongoing mental or physical harm to the child or parent
- To guard against the supervised parent kidnapping the child
The court is unwilling to order that one parent be completely cut off from a child, which is the reason for these orders. In fact, FLDivorceOnline.com is explicit in stating that “[t]here are no reported cases of a court honoring complete denial of visitation for a parent.”
It’s important to note that the court isn’t looking to punish the parent but instead protecting the best interest of the child. Supervised visitation can be ordered as a short-term measure to give the non-custodial parent an opportunity to address the concerns the court has while limiting harm to the child.
Therefore, if you find yourself in this situation, the best course of action is to address the underlying problems. If they’re emotional, seek professional help. If it’s an addiction issue, start going to meetings and join a program that will randomly screen you for substances. And make sure everything is documented so you can prove your course of action when you petition the court to alter the custody order.
Lastly, the non-payment of child support isn’t a factor in terms of visitation. The court will not revoke that right for that purpose.
Are you dealing with child custody or visitation issues stemming from a divorce? The Men’s Divorce Law Firm understands the legal, mental and emotional ramifications of these proceedings and has knowledgeable professionals ready to help. Call 321-DIVORCE today to set up a consultation and follow us on Twitter for updated information regarding Florida law.