Therapeutic Supervised Visitation
Therapeutic Supervised Visitation Custody Attorneys Brick and Sea Girt NJ
When a couple undergoes a divorce, they must ideally work together to ensure that they are coming to a fair and just separation in which each party’s best interests are taken into consideration.
Nowhere is this more important than a divorce in which children are involved in a divorce. Keeping the children’s best interests at the center of a divorce must be the highest priority for each spouse, and the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part holds children’s welfare as the keystone consideration in its oversight of divorce proceedings.
In an ideal situation, a couple is splitting mutually and maintains an amicable relationship. This lends itself to smooth divorce and custody proceedings in which the couple still considers themselves a partnership when it comes to raising their children. However, this is not always the case. In some divorce proceedings, one parent will seek full custody, asking that the court deem the other spouse unfit for parenting due to several issues such as a history of domestic violence, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, or legal troubles, to name a few.
The New Jersey Family Part court will give each parent visitation rights as long as it is physically and emotionally safe for the children – considering these visitations essential for their healthy socioemotional development. Frequent, consistent contact between children and their parents is held as a high priority for the New Jersey Family Part court. As such, one way in which a parent without legal custody can maintain visitation rights is to undergo therapeutic supervised visitation. Therapeutic supervised visitation is a precursor to regular visitation, depending on the circumstances surrounding the relationship the parent has with their children. In therapeutic supervised visitation sessions, a parent will meet with their children in the presence of a professional who is trained in familial reconciliation. The mental health professional who oversees and facilitates the visitations supports the parent in creating a healthy bond with their children, providing feedback to the parent to establish trust and growing relationships with the youth.
Following numerous therapeutic supervised visitations, the Superior Court Family Part judge interviews the children to understand whether the children feel safe conducting these visitations with their parents. This will determine whether the therapeutic supervised visitations will continue, whether they will be terminated, or whether a shift into unsupervised visitations is appropriate.
Is therapeutic supervised visitation appropriate?
During a custody hearing and follow-up court sessions, the judge will determine whether therapeutic supervised visitation is an appropriate route for the family to take to foster a safe and healthy relationship between a non-custodial parent and their children.
There are certain instances in which therapeutic supervised visitation is recommended as the only possibility of visitation. If there have been allegations of child abuse or child sexual abuse, supervised visits are the only way a parent will be legally allowed to visit a child. The presence of a professional facilitator, of course, ensures not only that the child is safe in the presence of the parent but that they feel physically and emotionally safe.
Another example of a situation in which therapeutic supervised visits is appropriate is that children and their parent have been separated for a long time. There is a certain uncertainty that looms over such visitations because the children’s response cannot be necessarily predicted. As such, having a mental health professional there to facilitate and observe supports the process of reconciliation.
If a child is transitioning into a new home from the New Jersey foster care system, they will also be supervised in therapeutic visitations to support healthy bonding. This foundation of trust between an adoptive parent and foster child is essential for a long-standing relationship based on health and security, so a trained facilitator will nearly always conduct therapeutic supervised visits during the transition period.
Therapeutic supervised visitation is not always appropriate and is usually a court-ordered attempt to provide children with both parents’ presence in their lives in a safe way and support transitions. It is not family or individual therapy, though this is often also recommended by a judge during therapeutic supervised visitation.
Retain A Brick, NJ Child Custody Lawyer Today for Advice on Therapeutic Supervised Visitation
At Bronzino Law Firm, our team of experienced attorneys is skilled in supporting our clients across New Jersey and Ocean County, including Point Pleasant, Toms River, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Jackson, Wall, and Brick in their divorce- and custody-related matters.