When a parent requests supervised visitation a careful analysis needs to be performed to determine is the concern legitimate or is it a ploy to gain the upperhand in custody litigation.
In its true form supervised visitation is designed to preserve the safety of a child from an abusive or neglectful parent whose conduct places the child at risk. Classic examples are situations in which Child Protective Services not only issues a "founded" report but where they also believe that the child will continue to be at risk without protective action taken. The action may be in the form of an Order of Protection or removal of the child and placement in the custody of the Department of Social Services.
We have all heard and read of the terrible situations that exist where a child is seriously injured as a result of a parent's abuse or neglect and the ultimate true safety of a child is of paramount importance. However, there are regretably situations in which the system is manipulated by a parent seeking to keep a child from a parent, alienate the child from the parent and attempt to win sole custody by making allegations that may be false about the other parent. The legal system is always concerned where there are also allegations of habitual alcohol abuse and drug abuse and will requirealcohol/ drug testing to determine if the problem exists. While those type of tests can provide a quick "snapshot" they do not address the issue of whether there are other forms of abuse or neglect occuring.
To properly protect a parent about whom these serious allegations are being made it is important to gain immediate legal counsel. Likewise, the parent who is complaining about the abuse or neglect should have representation to help advocate for the safety of the child. In either circumstance the rights of parents to be with their chidren and/or to protect their children and the need for legal advice from the beginning of the case is crucial so that the problems are properly resolved quickly.
If you find yourself in such a serious situation, please call my office so that we may begin to help you as soon as possible.