The primary duty of a family court judge serving in Louisiana is to protect the best interests of children involved in family-related legal issues. In many cases, this means setting aside the expressed wishes of either or both parents. In fulfilling their duty to protect the state's most vulnerable citizens, family law judges must often make unpopular decisions.
One such unpopular decision is ordering a parent to engage in supervised visitation with a child. In short, supervised visitation means that the parent may only spend time with his or her child under the supervision of another adult. Judges issue such an order for a variety of reasons, all of them centered on protecting children from physical, mental and emotional harm.
Some of the most common reasons for supervised visitation include the following.
- A history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse of the children
- A history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse of the co-parent
- A history of substance abuse
- An uncontrolled mental illness that may pose the risk of harm to the children
- A risk of possible abduction by the parent
- A history of child neglect
- A previously absent parent seeks to cultivate a parent/child relationship
- A record of potentially dangerous familial situations
Although noncustodial parents feel disappointed about supervised visitation, it is important to understand that the court is doing its best to protect your children. Abiding by these orders allows you to spend time building a better relationship with your kids. In time, the court may permit regular visitation, but only if you comply with its existing orders.
Even though supervised visitation is often necessary, it is still wise to make sure your rights remain protected. A family law attorney can fill an important role in such matters as an advocate for both you and for your children. Please consider reaching out for legal guidance if you have received a court order for supervised visitation only.