This is the next post in my series on cases in Melbourne, Florida which involve supervised visitation of a child. My last article provided an overview of topics I will be discussing and stressed the need to speak with an attorney if you find yourself in such a situation. It is important to understand that the Court will expect you to contact counsel immediately if you feel the child is in danger. In this post I will discuss another important topic – the reasons for which the Court may impose supervision. If you have questions about your rights then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
The Court will impose supervised visitation if it believes that it is dangerous for the child or children to be alone with a parent. Courts typically begin by ordering such arrangements on a temporary basis and, if evidence of danger is shown, the situation will then become a lasting order. I will discuss each of these steps in turn.
A parent seeking supervised visitation will make their request by filing an emergency Petition with the Court. The Petition must state new circumstances which have arisen since the last custody order and why those circumstances pose a danger to the child. In emergency situations the Court will hold a temporary hearing at which the attorney for each side will argue as to why visitation should or should not be supervised. If the Moving party shows a significant possibility of danger then the Court will likely order that visitation be supervised and that a trial be held to determine if the change should be permanent. Situations that will typically justify an Order of supervised visitation include drug abuse, physical abuse, or some other matter that is detrimental to the child’s well being.
At the trial the Court will decide whether or not a supervision Order should be made permanent. If the evidence supports such a finding then how the Court proceeds will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. In many instances the Court will put criteria in place that a parent must meet in order to regain traditional visitation. Such criteria may involve passing regular drug tests, attending counseling or anger management classes, or staying out of legal trouble. A parent’s visitation may be increased as they increasingly meet such criteria. If the case involves extremely serious issues, such as sexual abuse by a parent, then visitation will remain supervised for a much longer period of time. Truly extreme cases may result in subsequent proceedings involving the termination of parental rights.
If you are involved in a child custody dispute then contact my Melbourne office today to speak with an attorney. I am a former prosecutor and I regularly handle such matters. My office will give your case the attention it deserves. We also service clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.