When Would A Court Order Supervised Visitation In Florida?
The relationship between a parent and a child matters. In Florida, it is presumed to be inherently in the best interests of children to have a positive, ongoing relationship with both of their parents. Of course, there are certain circumstances in which one party may have a history of issues that calls their parental ability into question. A court may order supervised visitation to protect the health, safety, and well-being of the child. Here, our Orlando child custody attorney highlights the key things to know about court-ordered visitation in Florida.
Background: Visitation is “Time-Sharing” in Florida
In Florida, the term “visitation” is technically no longer used in an official legal context. Instead, state courts use the term “time-sharing.” That being said, the overall concept is relatively similar. A time-sharing schedule between divorced or separated parents will often detail the frequency, duration, and conditions (supervision) under which each parent spends time with the child(ren).
The Best Interests of the Child Matters
Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 61.13), the best interests of the child is the primary factor that determines custody and visitation. A court that is developing a child time-sharing arrangement in Florida must use the child’s best interests as the core guiding principle. If a court decides that supervised visitation (supervised time-sharing) is best for the child’s health, safety, well-being, and social development, that can be awarded.
Supervised Time-Sharing: Defined
Supervised time-sharing refers to a court-ordered arrangement in which the non-custodial parent’s visitation with their child is monitored by an appointed supervisor. It is a measure taken to ensure the child’s safety and to facilitate the parent-child relationship in a controlled setting.
Note: The person who is supervising parenting time could be an independent professional, a state agency, or a mutually-agreeable adult, potentially a grandparent or other family member.
Why a Court Could Require Supervised Child Time-Sharing in Orlando, FL
Why would a court require supervised time-sharing in Orlando? As noted previously, it would be mandated if deemed to be in the best interests of the child(ren). Here are some specific situations that could warrant supervised visitation:
- Abuse: If there is a history or credible threat of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, a court is likely to impose some form of supervised visitation.
- Neglect: Parental neglect is a serious issue. It can warrant supervised visitation to protect the well-being of the child.
- Substance Use: If a parent has issues with substance abuse—alcohol, drugs, etc—that could endanger the child’s safety, supervision may be required
- Mental Health: Finally, certain mental health concerns that might impact the parent’s ability to safely care for the child can also necessitate supervised time-sharing
Consult With Our Orlando Child Custody Lawyer for Immediate Help
At Greater Orlando Family Law, our Orlando child custody attorneys are passionate advocates for parents. If you have any questions about supervised visitation, we are here as a legal resource. Contact us right away to set up your confidential consultation. From our Winter Park office, we represent parents in custody and visitation cases in Orlando and all across Central Florida.