As a parent, there’s nothing more important than spending time with your children. It’s understandably one of the highest priorities for a parent going through a divorce or separation.
You also want to make sure your children are safe whenever they’re with their other parent. Under Georgia’s visitation laws, there is a chance that parents’ visits may be supervised. Learn more about this type of visitation and how it works.
Visitation Rights in Georgia
Whenever parents divorce, the law states that they have an obligation to care for any shared children. Part of this obligation is covered under custody. If a parent is awarded primary physical custody, legally, the other parent should have the right to visit their children.
In partial custody situations, the children will stay with the parent they don’t live with for a short time before they return to their primary custodian. There can be times when visits are ordered to be supervised, which can be confusing.
What is Supervised Visitation?
Under Georgia law, a judge may order visits between a non-custodial parent and their children to be supervised. This is especially true when this parent’s past actions have threatened the family’s safety. The judge is looking to protect the children and parent who were victims of family violence. A judge may also order supervised visits if the parent in question has a history of substance abuse or addiction.
Family violence is considered a felony-level assault, abuse, criminal damage, or harassment. Any parent that’s been accused of attacking or harming a member of their household — child, spouse, or other relative — may be seen as a threat to their ex-spouse or children.
The judge may rule that a parent may have the right to see their children, but their visits must be overseen by a third party to ensure their children’s safety. These are called “supervised” visits.
Who Supervises Visitation?
During a supervised visit, the non-custodial parent will have time with their children in a controlled environment for a certain amount of time. Depending on the situation, this visit could be supervised by another family member, a family acquaintance, or an agency. The court will need to approve the supervisor.
This person is meant to observe the interaction between the parent and their children. They may make notes, but their role is to protect the children: they step in if the parent begins to show threatening behavior.
Getting Supervised Visitation in Georgia
Georgia’s courts want parents to be able to visit their children. If both parents are able, the state believes a child should be able to see both parents. Supervised visits are encouraged when there aren’t better alternatives to fulfilling parental rights.
To secure supervised visits, you’ll need to show that your ex-spouse has a history of family violence or addiction. A judge will be able to see their criminal record if they have one, but you may need to help provide evidence of addiction to the court.A judge can review both parties’ arguments during custody hearings. They are obliged to choose an arrangement that suits the children’s best interests. They may decide that supervised visitations are better than taking away visitation rights altogether.
Supervised Visitation FAQs
Can Supervised Visitation Be Modified?
It is possible to modify child custody or visitation in Georgia if it’s in the children’s best interests. There are certain circumstances that must be met before a modification is considered, but those details are best discussed with an experienced Georgia family law attorney.
Can the Supervisor Interfere With Visits?
A supervisor’s job is to ensure the children are safe during a visit with their non-custodial parent. If there’s evidence that this parent is threatening the children’s safety, the supervisor may intervene. Otherwise, they will observe the visit and provide a report to the appropriate agency or to the court.
What Happens During a Supervised Visit?
Each case is unique, but the judge overseeing your case may set guidelines for the visiting parent to follow. They may decide that the visits can only happen during the day, or they may be ordered to happen in a public space like a park or library.
Some ideas for suitable supervised activities may include finding something the children are interested in, or making sure the planned activity will fit during the provided visitation time.
Why Should I Hire a Georgia Supervised Visitation Lawyer?
Parents want what’s best for their children. When you’re concerned about your child’s safety in relation to the prospect of visiting their other parent, supervised visitation may be the best option to fulfill parental obligations and protect your kid.
A family law attorney understands your anxieties and knows that a parent with a history of violence may need guidance to safely see their children. Finding an attorney who will support the need for supervised visitation, and one who knows how to find an adequate supervisor, is crucial. Your attorney can negotiate the terms of visitation, help establish the guidelines for visits, and ensure the terms are followed.
Call a Cobb County Family Lawyer
Parents want to protect their children. If the state is ordering that your ex is allowed to have visits with your child, you can shield them with supervised visits if you believe they may be a danger to your children. A family lawyer from The Gentry Law Firm LLC can help you understand the process to achieve supervised visits and help you fight for your rights.
We understand that family law is nuanced in Georgia, and getting the outcome you want on your own can be difficult. We were established to fight for family rights, and we want to ensure you have the help you need to advocate for your position.