In Washington State, child visitation can take a number of forms. In some cases, for a variety of reasons, the court may decide that supervised visits are in the best interest of the child. But what exactly is supervised child visitation, and what do you need to know about them?

A judge may decide that supervised visits are best for your family if:

  • The child has not seen his or her parent for an extended period of time, or if the child has not met his or her parent
  • The parent needs to work on his or her parenting skills
  • There is a history of mental illness or instability
  • There is a history of substance abuse
  • There is a history of domestic violence or alleged violence
  • There is a history of sexual abuse or alleged sexual abuse
  • There is a threat of child abduction

The main goal of a Washington supervised visit is to keep the child safe, both physically and emotionally, while helping the child and parent improve their relationship and spend quality time together. Even when a history of issues, such as domestic violence or abandonment, may exist, the court often believes that it is in the child’s best interests to know and spend time with both parents.

Four Approaches to Supervised Child Visitation

Now let's take a closer look at the four most common approaches to supervised child visitations and which circumstances make each plan ideal.

  • Child visitation professional overseeing supervised child visitation in Wwashington StateIn the presence of a non-professional third party. The most common type of supervised child visitation involved someone that both the parents and children know and trust. This is often a grandparent, a close relative, a friend of the family, a childcare provider, or a godparent. This setup is often ideal because it usually does not cost money, it involves someone close to the family, and it puts the children in a familiar environment. This setup is not ideal if either parent or child needs the assistance of a trained professional during visits.
  • In the presence of the custodial parent or guardian. There may be some instances, such as when the child is an infant, where child visitations take place with the custodial parent acting as the supervisor. This option is ideal for children who physically or emotionally need the presence of their custodial parent. This option is not ideal if the children’s parents cannot put other conflicts aside for the visit.
  • In the presence of a child visitation professional. These visits, which often take place at a neutral location specific to child visitations, place the non-custodial parent in an environment with a professional staff member. This type of supervised child visitation is best for those with serious histories of domestic violence, substance abuse, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse – or cases in which abduction could be an issue.
  • In the presence of a therapist. If a parent or child is struggling in the wake of divorce or child custody decision – or if a parent is having difficulty connecting with a child – supervised visits structured around therapy may be right for your family. These visits are often more expensive than the other options, but can be key when dealing with the often-complicated emotions surrounding divorce and custody.

Do you need legal assistance in regards to your Seattle divorce, child custody, or child visitation case? The Seattle child custody attorneys at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny are here to help you. Whether you wish to set up a visitation schedule, change an existing visitation schedule, or look in to whether supervised visits may be right for your family, we can review your case and explain your best options for action. Call us today at 425-460-0550 to learn more.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington