Supervised visitation is when a parent is only allowed to visit with his or her child under the supervision of a professional supervised visitation monitor. When the visiting parent’s well-being is in question, such as in the event of prior alcohol or substance abuse, or if there have been allegations of abuse or domestic violence. The purpose of supervised visitation is to ensure that non-custodial parent can have the opportunity to maintain contact with their children in a structured environment with the focus on the safety and welfare of the child(ren) and all parties involved with the visitation.
Sometimes a judge will order that direct supervision is not necessary when shared custody exists. The exchange of the child or children, however, may be an issue, especially when a restraining order is in place against one or both of the parents. In these cases, a monitor is needed to facilitate the exchange of the child between the parents so that the parents do not come in contact with each other. A supervised exchange typically only last for 5 to 10 minutes.
California law provides that a supervised visitation monitor can be professional or non-professional. Non-professional monitors generally don’t charge money and can be family members or friends. Many parents do not trust the family members or friends of the other parent to effectively supervise the visitation. A professional monitor is a neutral third party who is hired to supervise the visitation. A professional monitor is trained and experienced and best ensure the protection and safety of the child or children. A professional monitor writes a report that details what happened on the visit. The law also provides for On-Site or Off-Site visitations. We can arrange either for your family. Off-Site visitation is the more popular form on visitation. California previously had a category of monitor called a “therapeutic monitor”, but that has been eliminated by law.
A professional monitor must be neutral and must always protect the safety and welfare of the child or children on the visitation. A professional monitor will help establish and confirm the visitation date, time, and location as per the Court order. A professional monitor is always within earshot and eyeshot of the Non-Custodial Parent and the child or children. A professional monitor has control of the visitation and can stop the visitation at any time if they feel the children’s welfare is in question.
As per the California Rules of Court, Standard 5.20, Uniform Standards of Practice for Providers of Supervised Visitation, a professional monitor must be at least 21 years of age, have no DUI’s, not have been on probation or parole for 10 previous years, have no record of crimes against a person, not have had a restraining order within the last 10 years, have never been a supervised party, and complete training for professional monitors. To ensure that monitors do not have a criminal record that prohibits being a professional monitor, applicants take a TrustlIne fingerprint exam and be cleared. Monitor must also have a valid driver’s license and car insurance if they will be transporting children. The law also says that they must be familiar with the operation of the Courts and have extended training about domestic violence and other issues affecting these families. To see the requirements for supervised visitation monitors, Control + click here.
When parents agree to use a professional monitor from an agency such as Family Visitation Services, they will have the advantages of having various monitors available should the primary monitor not be available for any reason. This gives the family more confidence that a monitor will be available. Also, a professional agency like Family Visitation Services can provide added expertise and more professional reporting.
There is no list of “approved” or “certified” professional monitors that is administered by the Court in Los Angeles County. Some counties do maintain a listing of professional monitors who are “approved.” If you see a listing on the internet for Los Angeles County, it is not an official list of the Court, but rather an organization that charges for monitors to be listed.
Professional monitors can provide Declarations for the Court above and beyond the visitation reports. The parents’ attorneys can also subpoena the monitor or monitors to the Court to testify. There can also be a subpoena issued to get a copy of all correspondence (email, text, or written) with the agency from anyone involved with the case. There is an additional charge for these services.
We are happy to provide a quotation for any family. The amount we charge depends on the location, day, time, duration, and frequency of the visits. Some visitation orders allow for as little as 2 hours per week while others provide for a great number of days and hours for visitation. The Court determines which party pays for the visitation. In addition to an hourly rate, we charge a fee for preparing the report and a minor fee for travel expense. There is a 2-hour minimum for all visitations with our agency. Just call Family Visitation Services for a quotation; we will work with you to make visitation affordable. Keep in mind that you usually get what you pay for and some inexpensive monitors may be inexperienced or unqualified, a fact that could affect the case in Court. Not all monitors are created equal. We require our monitors to be involved in continuing education on a regular basis. Working with Family Visitation Services will a ensure a professional service that meets your needs.
The law provides that both parents must complete an intake with the monitor or the monitor’s agency prior to beginning visitation. They must also provide all related Court documents, as well as copies of their driver’s license and car insurance if they will be driving during the visitation. Calling Family Visitation Services to set up appointments to complete intakes is the first step to beginning visitation.
Unless a judge specifically limits the Non-Custodial Parent (NCP), the visiting parent can take the children to do any activity or to any location that is safe, meets with the approval of the professional monitor, and allows for the return of the children to the Custodial Parent (CP) on time. Sometimes judges will specify where the exchange of the children is to take place, but during the visit the NCP has the freedom to take the children to any location as long as the monitor approves. If the judge does not specify the pickup/drop-off point, the parents will have to come to an agreement via the monitoring agency.
Generally speaking, the visitation is limited to the Non-Custodial Parent, the children, and the professional monitor. If the visit is to take place at the home of the Non-Custodial Parent and other family members live there, then they may be allowed to interact with the children. If the judge gives a special permission, relatives can also be included on the visitation. Also, if the Custodial Parent agrees, the visit can include other family members without a specific order from the judge. Other relatives might include brothers or sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, or cousins of the minor children on the visit.