Supervised Visitation/Parenting Time in California

Jun 9, 2020 Child Custody

It is the public policy of the state of California to protect the best interest of children, focusing on the health, education, and welfare of the child. This is a judge’s guiding light when making custody and visitation/parenting time decisions.

In certain situations, the Court may determine that a child should only have contact with one parent with a neutral third-party present. This third party serves as a “monitor” or “supervisor.” There are a variety of reasons a court may order “supervised visitation.”  This includes concerns with parenting skills or mental illness concerns.

Supervised/monitored parenting time can also be a useful tool to assist with introducing a parent and child where there has been no prior relationship or reintroducing a parent into a child’s life where there has been a longer long period of time apart. It also used where there are safety concerns such as allegations or a history of substance abuse, domestic violence, etc.).

The Court Can Determine Time, Duration and Who Will Monitor Supervised Visits

When ordering supervised parenting time, a Court has broad discretion to determine the time and duration of the supervised visits. The Court can also make orders about where the visits will take place and how the children will travel to and from the visits. The Court monitor can be a nonprofessional such as a neutral family relative or family friend.

Alternatively, the Court can appoint a professional provider—a list of approved individuals and supervised visitation centers are available online. These approved providers (non-profit and for-profit) have cleared criminal background checks and are in compliance with Family Code §§ 3200 and 3200.5 and offer a variety of backgrounds (e.g., retired nurses, retired law enforcement, bilingual, mandatory reporters, special needs experience, specialization in autism, etc.).

Where warranted, the court could, alternatively, order a therapeutic provider such as a licensed mental health professional. The therapist can assist with keeping a safe and structured environment while impartially observing and helping the parent build appropriate parenting skills.

Changes Made to Court-Monitored Visitation Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been significant changes and Court orders affecting the family courts and impacting custody—specifically Court-monitored visitation. Although the law is constantly changing and in flux, the following guidelines have been issued relating to this topic over the past several months:

Pursuant to the Administrative Order No. 002 from Judge Hurwitz issued March 19, 2020, the Court has ordered that “effective immediately, in person supervised visitation shall be suspended due to COVID-19. Telephonic or video supervised visitation shall be allowed as arranged per the existing supervised visitation provider. IT IS SO ORDERED.”

Pursuant to the Administrative Order No. 20/08 issued March 23, 2020, the Court ordered that “all non-emergency Family Law trials, hearings, and proceedings shall be suspended through June 1, 2020…”

Pursuant to the Family Court Release dated March 26, 2020, the Orange County Superior Court further clarified that “In person supervised visitation shall be suspended by Administrative Order of the Family Law Supervising Judge, however TELEPHONE OR VIDEO SUPERVISED VISITATION SHALL BE ALLOWED AS ARRANGED PER THE EXISTING SUPERVISED VISITATION PROVIDER.”

Questions? Contact an Irvine Visitation Lawyer Today

In these unprecedented times, it is of paramount importance to use the guidelines issued by the Family Courts, while keeping in mind the best interest of the children.

If you have any questions regarding your parenting plan, call our Irvine visitation lawyer today for a consultation: 949-474-0800.