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 visitation or custody, you may want to ask that the visits be supervised.
However, if there is no current court case, please get legal advice BEFORE you start a court case to ask for supervised visits. 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 visits supervised and how long supervised visits would last, based on the facts of your case.
In the great majority of cases, supervised visits are only a temporary. Although the exact visitation order will vary, the judge might order a professional to observe the parent on a few visits or the visits might be supervised by a relative for a few months – and if there are no obvious problems, the visits will likely become unsupervised. Oftentimes, the parent ends up with more frequent and/ or longer visits than s/he had before you went into court. The other parent may even end up with joint custody.
In some cases, to protect your child from immediate danger by the abuser, starting a case to ask for custody and supervised visits is appropriate. To find out if that is best in your situation, please go to DE Finding a Lawyer to seek out legal advice.