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What services does Family Visitation Services offer?


FVS offers the following services.

  • Off-Site Supervised Visitations
  • On-Site Supervised Visitations (located in Van Nuys)
  • Guided or Directed Visitations
  • Monitored Exchanges
  • Overnight Visitations
  • Parent Coaching and Classes
  • Facilitated Visitations
  • Telephone Monitoring

Off-Duty Police Officers

What is Monitored Visitation?

Monitored Visitation means the Non-Custodial Parent and one or more children are allowed to spend time with each other in the presence of an impartial and neutral third person called “The Monitor.” The Monitor is a responsible, trained, and experienced individual who observes everyone at the visitation and guards the safety of all the parties involved.

How do I set up services with Family Visitation Services?

One of our staff members will complete a questionnaire or in-take form over the telephone or in person with the families needing our services. Together we’ll arrange an appointment if we need to meet with you. Family Visitation Services will need you to provide a copy of the minute order or court order; we need to know and understand any existing allegations, the ordered visitation terms and conditions. Payment is required in advance. Family Visitation Services will select a suitable monitor to meet the family’s needs. We need at least three days advance notice. To fulfill any last-minute requests, there is a 20% additional charge, and this may vary depending on the situation or the request.

Family Visitation Services will accept Private Pay, cash, check, or contracted services with organizations.

With the exception of contracted services, all payments must be made prior to any visitation.

Services are available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, also on holidays. Arrangements may be made for either hourly or overnight visitations.

Office hours are Monday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Counselors are on-call for emergencies or last-minute requests. Please call our Visitation Coordinator who will set up your next appointed visitation.

Toll Free800-526-5129
Los Angeles County    818-968-8586
Orange County714-539-9967
Coachella Valley760-673-7409
E-Mailinfo@familyvisitationservices.com

What are the parents options for Monitored Visitations?

In many states, the parents’ options are limited. Arkansas Visitation and Exchange Center (AVEC – http://www.avecinc.org/) is an authoritative resource for Monitored Visitations and Exchanges.

Parents might persuade a friend or relative to act as the Monitor; however, the court would need to determine if the friend or relative could remain neutral and impartial while serving as a Monitor.

Visitations typically take place in the evening after school or work or during the weekend. Depending on the child’s age, visits with infants and very young children may be scheduled in the morning and of course on holidays and during vacations Family Visitation Services can provide flexible schedules for Monitored Parents wishing to spend time with their children.

Who provides monitoring in these situations?

The California Penal Code Section 11165.15 states that a Monitor is “Any person who, for financial compensation, acts as a monitor of a visit between a child and parent when the monitoring of that visit has been ordered by a court of law.”

The Visitation Monitor must remain neutral and completely impartial. This permits them to offer an independent account of the parent and child’s interaction and relationship to the court and other concerned professionals. The Visitation Monitor must be able to perform his or her job without fear or favor.

The Visitation Monitor must not be a relative of either parent or have any interest in the child’s custody. If a relative conducts the monitored visitation, the court and others involved will raise concerns about that monitor’s ability to remain neutral and impartial. This can harm both parents inside the court.

Why are Monitored Visitations important?

  • Children may continue their relationship with both parents.
  • Monitoring provides the children with a safe, supportive, and comfortable environment where parents create no conflicts with each other.
  • Monitoring assures Custodial Parents that they can depend on the Monitor to facilitate enjoyable and comfortable contact with the other parent.
  • Custodial Parents can rely on Family Visitation Services to appoint Professional Monitors who will serve and protect their children. During these visits, Monitored Parents will not interrupt their children or create communication problems with their children because of personal conflicts both Parents may have with each other.

It is our mission to provide Monitors for family visitations so that today’s children will have pleasant childhood memories in their future.

What can I expect when I call?

Here’s what you can expect when you call.

  • We will listen to your concerns.
  • We will understand your worries.
  • We will ask you a series of relevant questions to get a clear perception of your situation.
  • We will conduct an interview and complete our client questionnaire either at our office or over the telephone.
  • We will examine the details of the court order and each child’s safety issues.
  • We will provide you with copies in writing of our policies, procedure, and agreements in clear and concise terms.
  • We will meet with the children and help them understand the reasons why a Monitor will attend their visit with their parent.
  • We will work with the Custodial Parent and the Monitored Parent to minimize stress and foster continuing support and care among all family members.

We are here to serve you and to comply with the court’s orders.

What kinds of services are excluded from Monitored Visitations?

Monitored Visitations do not include any of the following.

  • Psychological evaluation
  • Custody suitability evaluation
  • Psychological or medical treatment
  • Personal counseling
  • Replacement for legal counsel
  • Retribution for child support disputes
  • A mediation alternative
  • Babysitting
  • Punishment

Monitored Visitation means the contact between a Non-Custodial Parent and one or more children in the presence of an impartial and neutral third person called “The Monitor.” The Monitor is a responsible, trained, and experienced individual who observes everyone at the visitation and guards the safety of all the parties involved.

How do I prepare my child/children for Monitored Visitations?

Nothing is more important than preparing children for their Monitored Visits! This will help them feel comfortable. These suggestions will prepare children for their visits.

  • Use only words that your children can easily understand. Avoid making their visit unimportant or trivial.
  • Avoid telling your children about their visit too far in advance.
  • Assure your children and affirm that you will promptly return for them after the visit ends.
  • Help your children visualize spending time with the Monitored Parent and having a good time.
  • Explain to your children that grown-ups will be at the visit to assure that they will stay safe, secure, and protected.
  • Explain to your children that they will not be forced to say or do what they do not want to.

These guidelines will help make this difficult process go more smoothly and reduce stress and worry for everyone involved.

What are the standards the Monitor follows?

All Monitors fully understand their legal responsibilities under the law. They are required to comply with the Family Court’s local rules and the Standards and Guidelines for Supervised Visitation Practice which the Supervised Visitation Network has outlined.

All Monitors meet the 5.20 California Rules of the Court guidelines required for supervised visitations. In addition, all Monitors are trained in First Aid and CPR.

What is a high-conflict custody dispute?

Dr. Ron Stewart wrote in his 2001 article The Early Identification and Streaming Cases of High-Conflict Separation and Divorce that one may identify high-conflict custody disputes with the following conditions.

  • One or both parents have a criminal record;
  • Child protection or police agents have intervened in their dispute;
  • One or both parents have changed attorneys several times;
  • Both parents have needed to make repeated appearances in family court;
  • The case never seems to close and continually drags on;
  • The court has had to issue retraining orders to one or both parents or revoke access to any child;
  • While the former partners were still married, there were occurrences of mental heath problems, depression, anger, withdrawal, or neglect;
  • Either or both parents behaved abusively or violently;
  • Either or both parents habitually malign or demonize anyone siding with the estranged spouse;
  • Unable to set defined and identifiable boundaries between their own needs and those of their child or children;
  • Stubborn in the way they view their relationships or child’s upbringing;
  • Mistrust or even paranoia of others;
  • A habit of insinuating their children in custody or other disputes with the other former spouse;
  • Attempts to turn a child toward one parent and against the other.

 

 

 

Are there any additional fees?

Family Visitation Services may charge extra fees for transportation or mileage fees if the Monitor’s vehicle is used or if the Monitor is summoned to appear in court as a witness. Additional fees include the following.

  • Hourly rates may vary depending on visit circumstances, hours, and location.
  • There is a non-refundable one-time set-up fee of $100;
  • Transportation fees start at $10 and increase depending on the visit location (applies to open visits only);
  • Whenever the court orders the Monitor to provide transportation for the exchange or visitation, an additional transportation fee of $0.75 per mile will be charged.
  • A Witness Fee of $500.00 per session morning or afternoon plus parking and transportation expenses will be charged whenever a Monitor or other Staff Member has received a summons or subpoena to appear in court.

Please call 800-526-5129 to duscuss rates for your situation.

If the parents can’t communicate with each other, what do you recommend?

First, our Professional Monitors are not to be used as messengers for two fully-grown adults. Both the Custodial Parent and the Monitored Parent are responsible for finding a civil way to communicate with each other.

Parents involved in a high-conflict custody dispute can avoid exchanging information by telephone, text, e-mail or in face-to-face encounters. In addition, both can keep a written record of all communications which could be produced in court whenever necessary.

Family Visitation Services advises that such individuals use any of the following on-line co-parenting communication web sites.

http://www.ourfamilywizard.com/

http://www.parentingtime.net/

http://www.sharekids.com/

It is vital that both parents exchange information pertaining to their child(ren)’s direct needs (activities, education, care, health, etc.) during the visitation. All other communications between the parents should be dealt with through attorneys or an on-line communication web site such as http://ourfamilywizard.com.

 

How should I respond to a hostile e-mail message?

Sending any hostile communication is never a good idea. Parents who send hostile communications by e-mail, text, voice mail, the Postal Service, or a co-parenting communication web site harm their chances of gaining favor with the court. This can gravely sabotage the Parents’ shared custody arrangements and may also require making repeated court appearances.

 

The court has ordered shared custody, but one parent refuses to comply. Now what?

Family Visitation Services recommends that adult parents put the needs of their children ahead of their own personal will. Otherwise, the parents should seek Parent Coordination because they can’t put their heads together after a very lengthy and costly court process. Parents unwilling to comply with court orders need Parent Coordination, which is designed for them. One day the conflict must end, but until that time, the children will suffer terribly! Some way must be found to protect the children physically, emotionally, and mentally. Mental health or legal professionals with extensive training and experience in mediation, arbitration, child development, and handling people involved in family conflicts provide the services that Parent Coordination includes. These coordinators will help such parents follow the court’s demands.

 

How can I find professionals capable of dealing with high-conflict family situations?

Lawyers, private mediators, mental health professionals, and many others will work with you to solve these problems. They are knowledgeable, experienced, and caring, and will give you the best advice they can to help with these problems. Their concern for the children who are involved is paramount, and they don’t practice their profession just to make huge wads of cash. When looking for someone to help with this situation, be sure to ask about the professional training the individual has completed within the last five to ten years.

 

Should I be concerned about the parties’ confidentiality?

Your Monitor has taken an oath to remain neutral and to refuse to discuss the merits of the case, to either agree or disagree with any party over the other. There is no need for your concern; your confidentiality will be carefully guarded.

Discussions between the Monitor and the parents are solely for arranging visitations and maintaining the children’s safety during the visits.

The assigned Monitor will prepare a detailed record of each visit. It will remain on-file at our office. Each report will include but not be limited to the following.

  • The individuals’ names attending the visit;
  • A written record of each contact and visit;
  • The date, time, and duration of the visit;
  • An activity summary of the visit;
  • A list of actions, if any, taken by the Monitor, including any interruptions, interventions, terminations, and the reasons for any of these actions.
  • Any account(s) of critical incidents, including physical or verbal altercations or threats;
  • Violations of court restraining or visitation orders;
  • Any failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the visitation contract as per subdivision (i);
  • Any incidence of abuse or neglect as required by law.

All case recordings are limited to facts, observations, and direct statements by the parties; these exclude the Monitor’s personal conclusions, suggestions, and opinions. Contact with the Monitor may be in person, in writing, or by telephone and may be made by any party, the children, the court, attorneys, mental health professionals, or referring agencies. All of these will be documented in the case file. All entries will include the date and the signature of the person recording the entry.