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When New Jersey parents get a divorce, one may only be allowed supervised visitation in some cases. With supervised visitation, a third party, such as a family member or a social worker, must always be present when the child and parent are together. This may occur as a way for a child to still have some contact with a parent that a judge does not believe is able to safely be alone with the child.

This could happen if the parent has issues with substance abuse or a history of domestic violence. The judge will specify who the person should be that accompanies the parent and child on these visitations. Supervised visitation may take place at a child care center or another facility the court has chosen, or it could involve someone bringing the child to the parent’s home.

Supervised visitations may be temporary or permanent. For example, if one parent has alleged that the other parent is abusing the child, supervised visitation could be ordered while the matter is under investigation. Sometimes the supervised visitation may be lifted if certain conditions are met, such as a parent successfully completing a substance abuse program. It may be necessary to return to court to get a modification of the child custody orders based on a change in circumstance.

In a child custody dispute, a judge makes a decision that is in the best interests of the child. Most of the time, courts work from the assumption that it is beneficial for children to spend time with both parents. Parents should keep in mind when negotiating or going to a child custody hearing that disagreeing strongly about parenting approaches probably is not sufficient grounds for a judge to require supervised visitation. When parents allege abuse or other safety issues, it may help to provide police reports or other documentation.