Sunday, January 22, 2017

Supervised Visitation

Are you in need of supervised visitation monitoring services? Perhaps this is your first time hearing about supervised visitation monitoring because a judge ordered you or your ex to hire a professional monitoring service. What exactly does this mean?

First and foremost, a judge normally will order professional monitoring services for the noncustodial parent for a variety of reasons, whether it is because they have demonstrated a lack of proper parenting skills, or have had allegations of abuse (physical, substance, sexual, emotional, etc). After the hearing, the judge or the clerk of the court will then hand the parties information explaining how to obtain this service and where to look. Many of the family court departments in the greater Los Angeles County area have informational brochures about the professional services we provide and how to promptly reach us.

Once a potential client reaches us and after going through the intake interview, the service coordinator will begin to set up visitation dates and times, according to your specific court order, if applicable. This can prove to be a challenge at times if there is no court order involved because our coordinator needs to find a time that is suitable for everyone, including the minor child. We have to take into consideration both parents' regular work schedule, plus miscellaneous appointments, and of course the school schedule of the minor child.

In addition, your court order should include the number of days and hours per week that the noncustodial parent can visit with the minor child AND whether or not they are allowed to be onsite or offsite. Finally, your visitation is scheduled and confirmed with both parties and the monitor. If you have a court order and this information is not included, you may need to speak with your attorney for further answers. Needless to say, this quality time offers the opportunity to develop and nurture the familial relationship between the noncustodial parent and minor child.

We do have a few guidelines that families need to follow while using our services.

If the visitation is onsite at our facility, then the noncustodial parent will arrive 15 minutes prior to the visitation commencing in the back of the parking lot; this is the same time the monitor will arrive to the back of the facility to bring the noncustodial parent up to the monitoring room. At the approximate hour, the monitor will then retrieve the minor child from the custodial parent and escort them to the monitoring room for the visitation. At the end of the visitation, the monitor will promptly escort the minor child down to the custodial parent. After the custodial parent has safely strapped the minor child into the car, they will immediately leave so the monitor can go back upstairs to wait with the noncustodial parent for an extra 15 minutes. By allotting this 15 minute grace period before and after the visitation, it ensures that there will be no contact by either party. We require that the noncustodial parent arrive 15 minutes before the visitation commences, and waits for the entire 15 minutes at the end of the visitation to ensure that neither party sees each other.

Some parents have inquired as to whether or not we allow extended family members to participate in the visit. Our guidelines dictate that if it is stated in a court order, then we follow that court order. If the parties are insistent on having certain family members attend the visit and it is not specifically stated in the court order, then they will need to follow up with their attorney and possibly handle the matter in court. In the event that there is no court order, both parties have to agree that *certain* family members are allowed to attend the visit.

We try to promote a healthy atmosphere in our visitation rooms and request that only healthy items are brought to the visitation center. Some parents are peculiar about what items are off limits and have provided specific lists as to what food is acceptable.

The idea of gift giving also has its limitations. We have to maintain our neutrality at all times, so the only times that gift giving is allowed is for special occasions (Birthdays, Christmas, and first-time visits, within reason). We do not allow gift giving for every visitation because it creates an impression on the minor child that "I want to see X because they give me gifts all the time."

To ensure a positive visitation experience, we ask that the noncustodial parent turn their cell phones off during the visitation. This is time with your child, not time to talk on the phone to friends or family members. Even though you may not have seen your child in quite some time (and perhaps your extended family hasn't either), this is not a visitation for them. This is quality time that the noncustodial parent can have with their child. The only person that should have a cell phone on them is the monitor.

We have many families that use our onsite services to spend time with their child/children. We ask that you treat our facility the way you would your own house. Clean up after yourself and make sure the room is just they way it was when you first arrived. This will make us and all the other families much happier and more relaxed (or as relaxed as can be while being under close watch).

We are here to help families build relationships. Our ultimate goal is to see families have their monitoring lifted. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us today. 

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