Should I start a court case to ask for supervised visitation?
If you are not comfortable with the abuser being alone with your child, you might be thinking about asking the judge to order that visits with your child be supervised. If you are already in court because the abuser filed for legal decision-making or parenting time, you may not have much to lose by asking that the parenting time be supervised if you can present a valid reason for your request (although this may depend on your situation).
However, if there is no current court case, please get legal advice BEFORE you start a court case to ask for supervised parenting time. We strongly recommend that you talk to an attorney who specializes in custody matters to find out what you would have to prove to get the parenting time supervised and how long supervised parenting time would last, based on the facts of your case.
In the majority of cases, supervised parenting time is only a temporary measure. Although the exact order will vary by state, county, or judge, the judge might order a professional to observe the other parent on a certain amount of visits or the visits might be supervised by a relative for a certain amount of time – and if there are no obvious problems, the visits may likely become unsupervised. If the judge does order that supervision be provided by an individual, you may want to research who provides supervised visitation near you and make sure it will be a place that will be able to provide safety to you and your children. A reminder: at the end of a case, the other parent may end up with more frequent and/or longer parenting time than s/he had before you went into court or even receive some form of legal decision-making authority if s/he is perceived as having the ability to safely be around the child/ren.
In some cases, to protect your child from immediate danger by the abuser, starting a case to ask for legal decision-making and supervised parenting time is appropriate. To find out what may be best in your situation, please go to AZ Finding a Lawyer to seek out legal advice.