During most child custody cases in Virginia, both parents are awarded joint or partial custody and share parenting time at each other’s homes. However, in some cases it may be necessary for one or both parents to spend time with the children under supervision by authorities. If both parents must be supervised, guardianship of the children may be awarded to the grandparents or another responsible person. Supervised visitation may be temporary or permanent, depending on the situation.

What are some of the reasons that your ex-spouse may only be allowed to see your children under supervision? According to the Supreme Court of Virginia, a judge may order supervised visitation if there was domestic violence or substance abuse present during the relationship. Verbal or emotional abuse may also be a deciding factor. The emotional and physical well-being of the children are the top concerns when supervised visitation is being considered.

Supervised visitation is not meant to punish the parent. Instead, monitoring the time he or she spends with the children ensures that they receive valuable time with the parent while being protected from abuse in a safe place. Other factors are considered when setting up a supervised visitation schedule, such as the child’s school schedule, extracurricular activities, age and emotional development and the non-custodial parent’s own ability and willingness to cooperate.

The court understands that it is important for your children to have access to both parents in most cases. Supervised visitation may allow this to happen, while protecting them from potential harm that may occur if they were alone with the non-custodial parent. This information is meant to give you a general understanding of how the process works, but should not be taken as legal advice.