St. Louis Supervised Visitation Lawyers
Supervised Child Visitation
Parents who have concerns about their children being in the care of the other parent may want an Order for supervised visitation or restricted visitation. Clients should be aware that there is a strong burden of proof on the parent requesting supervised visitation for the other parent, as supervised visitation is unnatural and can only be ordered under certain circumstances. A court, in granting visitation rights, can only order restricted visitation after a finding that the visitation would "endanger the child's physical health or impair his emotional development." If this finding is made, the court can restrict the location of the visit, or order that only supervised visitation be allowed.
"Supervised visitation," as used in the Missouri statute, has been defined as "visitation which takes place in the presence of a responsible adult appointed by the court for the protection of the child." The Court may appoint a non-related party, such as a social worker, or the court may allow a family member to be the supervisor when it is appropriate. When a court does restrict a parent's visitation rights due to allegations of abuse, before unsupervised visitation may be ordered, there must be a showing of proof of treatment and rehabilitation to the court.
The courts restrict visitation for various reasons. One circumstance that may result in restricting visitation is the when the non-custodial parent is mentally or physically abusive to the child. In certain situations, the court has provided that the noncustodial parent has no visitation rights but instead reasonable temporary custody.
Other situations which may give rise to restricted visitation are excessive drinking, use of drugs, and history of violence. However, Courts will often look for less-restrictive means to facilitate visitation between a parent and child, if the Court determines the child will be protected under such provisions. For example, if drinking is an issue, rather than order supervised visitation, the court may order that the parent not drink during or before a visitation with the child. Because enforcement of such a provision can be difficult, the court may include other provisions to enforce the no-drinking clause, such as a breathalyzer test.
In general, the court orders restricted visitation in Missouri when it is necessary to protect the child's best interests, while at the same time allowing the noncustodial parent to further his or her parental relationship with the child. If you have concerns about your child being in the care of the other parent, you should discuss the various custody and visitation options with an experienced Missouri child custody attorney.