Should I start a court case to ask for supervised parenting time?
If you are not comfortable with the other parent being alone with your child, you might be thinking about asking the judge to order that parenting time with your child be supervised. Supervised parenting time may be ordered by a judge to require that a parent’s time with his/her children be supervised by a neutral third party (for example, a professional supervisor or another family member).* In some instances, such as where there has been domestic abuse between you and the other parent, allegations of drug or alcohol abuse, parental alienation, or to protect your child from immediate danger or abuse, starting a court case to ask for parental responsibility and supervised parenting time is appropriate.**
If you are already in court because the abuser filed for parental responsibilities or parenting time, you might not have much to lose by asking that the parenting time be supervised, provided that 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 parental responsibilities matters to find out what you would have to prove to get the parenting time supervised and how long the supervision would last, based on the facts of your case. Sometimes, at the end of a case, the other parent ends up with more parenting time than s/he had before you went into court or even some form of parental responsibility. To find out what may be best in your situation, please go to our CO Finding a Lawyer page to find a lawyer in your area and get legal advice.
Visits can be unsupervised or supervised, and may involve a neutral place of exchange and/or monitored exchange. You and the other parents may agree to exchange your child at school or another safe place, use a supportive relative or family friend to help with the exchange, or have a professional oversee your transitions. This decision can be written into your parenting plan. If parents cannot agree about when and where to exchange the child, the judge may order one or more of these methods. The reason for this is to make sure of the child's safety and a calm situation for the child.***
The type of supervised parenting time that is ordered depends greatly on the resources available in your county and the circumstances of the case. Even when supervised visits are ordered, the supervised visitation may be ordered for a short period of time and then changed to unsupervised visits if the supervised visits go well. In the majority of cases, supervised visits are only a temporary measure.
For more information about parenting time in CO, you can read Connecting With Your Kids: Important Information on Parenting Time in Colorado, a lengthy but very informative booklet published by The Colorado Foundation for Families and Children.
* C.R.S. § 14-10.5-104
** See Connecting With Your Kids: Important Information on Parenting Time in Colorado, p. 83
*** See Connecting With York Kids: Important Information on Parenting Time in Colorado, p. 30