Unless special circumstances exist, children generally fare best when they have the emotional support and ongoing involvement of both parents. Ongoing parental involvement fosters positive parent-child relationships and healthy emotional and social development. The ability for parents to work as a team, whenever possible, is highly encouraged in order to promote the least detriment to the child.
For further information about your child’s developmental needs, things to consider with regard to parent visitation, and how you can best help your child adjust please see the Resources section for a parent’s guide as well as other online resources, informative websites, and other social service agencies.
Both Supervised Visits and Monitored Exchanges are designed to assure that a child can have safe contact with an absent parent without having to be put in the middle of the parents’ conflicts or other problems. It is the child’s best interest that is paramount in making any decisions regarding the need for supervised visitation. However, there are also some significant benefits to parents. It is our hope that no one will look upon supervised visitation or exchange as a negative or stigmatized service. It is a tool that can help families as they go through difficult and/or transitional times. Some of the benefits for those involved are as follows:
For the children:
For the custodial parents:
For the non-custodial parents:
For the courts:
Often there is nothing to prohibit you from using a “non-professional” relative, friend, or acquaintance. Many court orders will allow that as an option provided both parents can agree on who to use. That often does not work out for the following reasons:
First and foremost is the difficulty in finding someone on whom you both agree. If you are having sufficient conflict that supervision was deemed necessary, then chances are very slim you will be able to find an individual that both of you will trust and feel comfortable with. Secondly, it puts a real strain on friendships. Many well-meaning friends and relatives will agree to provide the service but will quickly tire of the regular commitment and/or being in the middle of your conflicts. It is difficult for friends and relatives to refrain from taking sides. Once neutrality is lost, then the credibility of the “supervisor” will come into question and much of the feeling of security and safety will be gone. And, finally, it may actually detract from the quality of the parent/child time together. It is often tempting to spend time interacting with the acquaintance rather than focusing on the child. Children may then come to resent the visits because they feel that they are secondary and not primary in the interaction.