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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “SUPERVISED VISITATION” AND “MONITORED EXCHANGES”?
Many parents and children who are separating or divorcing in difficult circumstances need help from a neutral third party in arranging for visitation or parent-time. Although emotions may be running high between you and the other parent, it is your children’s best interests that you should consider first when thinking about visitation or parent-time. In most situations, children want to continue relationships with both parents. If your former partner still wants to maintain a relationship with the child or children, Judges are unlikely to terminate the rights of the parent to parent-time. In particularly volatile situations where you may have safety concerns for you or your children, you may want to consider supervised visitation or monitored exchanges.
Supervised parent-time is parent-time between a parent and child held at a neutral location. Supervised parent-time visits are closely monitored by staff who may intervene when necessary to ensure appropriate parent/child interactions.
Monitored exchanges means that the parents pre-arrange times at which the custodial parent/guardian brings the child to a neutral center. The non-custodial parent picks up the child for off-site parent-time visit and returns him/her to the center at a pre-arranged time. Staggered pick-up and drop-off times are usually arranged so that the parents do not have to be in contact with one another. The actual exchange is monitored by staff who generally try to ease the process for the child.
WHEN MIGHT I CONSIDER USING ONE OF THESE SERVICES?
Supervised parent-time may be useful in situations where the non-custodial parent:
- is working on improving his/her parenting skills
- may have a drug or alcohol abuse problem
- has been abusive or has had trouble controlling anger
- may have been involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with the child
Monitored exchanges may be useful in any of the situations described above, particularly if the non-custodial parent has completed treatment and is ready for unsupervised visits. Monitored exchanges may also be helpful when parents separate and find themselves yelling at one another whenever they meet, or when there is a history of domestic violence. If any violence was directed at the child, supervised visitation may be most appropriate.
WHAT ARE THE REASONS THE COURT MAY USE IN ORDERING SUPERVISED PARENT-TIME?
Supervised parent-time or visitation is typically ordered when there is evidence that the child may be adversely affected by contact with a parent, or if it is ruled that contact would not be in the child’s best interests. The following are some of the most commonly cited reasons where supervised visitation would be mandated:
- Risk of Abduction or Removal: If the Court finds that there is a realistic probability of a non-custodial parent abducting a child, supervised parent-time may be ordered. In some cases, parent-time can be suspended depening on the severity of the risk of abduction
- Potential Emotional Harm: When there is risk of emotional harm to the child from contact with the non-custodial parent, that parent’s parent-time may be restricted or suspended. Emotional harm generally needs to be shown by evidence that contact with the non-custodial parent negatively affects the child’s well-being or development. Anti-social behavior, poor school performance, or self-harming behaviors may be used to as evidence of emotional problems.
- Drug or Alcohol Abuse: A non-custodial parent who is deemed to be an alcoholic or who uses illegal drugs can be denied parent-time if the Court finds that the drug or alcohol abuse endangers the children. This is especially true if the parent has one or more offenses related to substance abuse, such as arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) or possesion of controlled substances.
- At The Child’s Request: The Court can consider the children’s wishes as as a valid reason to impose supervised parent-time. If a child is able to clearly state a compelling reason or reasons why he or she doesn’t want to have any contact with the other parent, this may be cause for the Court to institute parent-time monitoring.
- Incarcerated Parent: A parent’s incarceration alone is not considered reason enough to deny parent-time, but supervised parent-time can be ordered in this situation, if the incarceration is related to that parent’s ability to parent. Parental rights may be curtailed or temporarily suspended if the Court feels that parent-time with an incarcerated parent may be detrimental to the child.
- Parent’s Mental Illness: A parent’s mental illness may be considered serious enough to warrant supervised parent-time, depending on the nature of the illness and the extent to which the illness may impair the parent’s ability to parent safely or effectively. The Court would normally need to find that there is believable potential for harm to the children due to the parent’s mental illness before ordering supervised parent-time.
- Risk Of Violence To The Child: A non-custodial parent may be ordered to have supervised parent-time (or even denied parent-time rights) if there is eveidence that parent has committed any form of child abuse. This may also extend to incidents of alleged or proven spousal abuse or domestic violence.
- Inappropriate Sexual Conduct: Heterosexual relationships between the a parent and a girl- or boyfriend are rarely cause for instituting supervised parent-time. Courts may sometimes choose to restrict overnight parent-time by children with a parent if they believe that a relationship would cause harm to the children, but this is uncommon.
- Religious Beliefs:Unless the Court finds that a given religious belief or practice could be harmful to the children, they may not restrict parent-time on this basis. Cases where supervised parent-time have been ordered on religious grounds usually include a belief in abstaining from conventional medical treatment or potentially harmfull or dangerous practices (i.e., snake handling, prolonged fasting, etc).
HOW DO I ARRANGE FOR THESE SERVICES THROUGH UTAH PARENT SERVICES?
We have an on-line in-take form. Please fill out the form and then call our office for an in-take interview and visitation details.
WHAT DO YOU CHARGE FOR YOUR SERVICES?
Professional Supervised Visitation Fees:
Supervision Hourly Rate (for up to 2 kids) ……… $ 65.00*
Hourly Rate for Each Additional Kid …………….. $ 10.00*
Supervised Pick-Up/Drop Off ……………….…….. $ 25.00*
*minimum 3 hours
Please contact office for fees related to Parent-Time Court Reports, Declarations and Incident Reports.
WHAT IS YOUR PAYMENT POLICY?
Fees are payable in cash or by credit card (with an added fee), IN ADVANCE. We are a private, professional service and all fees are paid by parents. No services will be rendered to a parent unless fees for services are paid, in full, prior to the start of the parent-time services. Fees are based on a hourly rate, with a two-hour minimum. Fees for services may include travel time fees as stated above.
WHEN ARE SERVICES AVAILABLE?
Services are generally available seven days a week, 365 days a year. Holiday parent-time visits have premium per hour rates. Fees are subject to change. Prior notice given in advance.
WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION / NO SHOW POLICY?
If for any reason you are unable to bring the child(ren) or attend the parent-time visit with your child(ren), it is your responsibility to notify the Supervisor and the other parent. In the event of adult parties not having access to each other’s telephone numbers, the Supervisor will confirm cancellations. Both parents must confirm mutually agreed-upon cancellations with the Supervisor. If notice is less than 24 hours before the scheduled parent-time visit, you are responsible for paying the appropriate fee to Utah Parent Services. No-show payments must be paid prior to the start of the next scheduled parent-time visit.
Cancellations MUST be communicated verbally prior to a 24 hour period of the parent-time visit to avoid a cancellation fee. If no cancellation notification is given, the canceling or no-show parent is responsible to pay for the scheduled parent-time visit hours.
The cancellation of scheduled Saturday or Sunday parent-time visit MUST communicate verbally to Utah Parent-Time Services no later than 5:00 pm on the Friday before the scheduled visit.
The cancellation of a scheduled holiday parent-time visit must be made no later that one (1) week prior to the visit. If holiday cancellations are made less than one (1) week in advance, parents are responsible for paying for the parent-time visit.
Failure of the non-custodial parent to arrive timely without calling to let Utah Parent Services know that you will be running late, will result in cancellation and the payment of the hourly fee as stated above herein to Utah Parent Services. You will be responsible for paying the appropriate fee and the child(ren) will be returned to the custodial party.
Except for late cancellation or inability to arrive on time, all calls are to be placed to the Supervisor during office hours, Monday thru Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
There are to be no changes in the supervised parent-time schedule unless approved by the Court and or the Supervisor. Once the day and time has been set it will be followed on weekly basis, unless either party have requests a change.
WHAT INFORMATION DO YOU SHARE REGARDING MY CASE?
Our Supervisors will maintain a neutral role by refusing to discuss the merits of the case, or agree with, or support one party over another. Any discussion between a Supervisor and a parties should be for the purposes of arranging parent-time and providing for the safety of the children during the parent-time visit.
WHAT RECORDS DO YOU KEEP?
A record for each case will be maintained, including but not limited to the following: (a) a written record of each contact and parent-time visit including the date, time and duration; (b) a summary of parent-time activities; (c) any actions taken by the Supervisor, including any interruptions, interventions, terminations, and reasons for these actions; (d) an account of critical incidents, including physical or verbal altercations and/or threats; (e) violations of court orders; (f) any failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the parent-time; and (g) any incidence of abuse or neglect as required by law. Records will not be provided to a parent without payment of document preparation costs.
Case recordings will be limited to facts, observations and direct statements made by the parties, not personal conclusions, suggestions, or opinions of the Supervisor. Contact by the Supervisor in person, in writing, or by telephone with party, the children, the court, attorneys, mental health professionals, and referring agencies may also be documented in the case file.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS/EXPECTATIONS FOR ME TO USE YOUR SERVICES?
- Use of alcohol, non-prescribed drugs, cigarettes or cell phone calls/texting during visits are prohibited. Parent-Time will be cancelled if a parent is suspected of using (being under the influence of) these substances.
- Parents and children must speak English during the supervised visit unless there is a supervisor present who speaks a family’s native language. Parents must speak loud enough for the supervisor hear. No whispering will be tolerated.
- Phone calls to other individuals are not permitted at anytime during supervised parent-time. The use of cellular phones is not permitted during the scheduled visit, except in case of emergencies.
- Weapons or any articles that could be used as weapons are not permitted on the supervised parent-time visit.
- Inappropriate touching of the child(ren)’s body MUST be avoided.
- Inappropriate demands for physical contact MUST be avoided.
- Use of foul language MUST be avoided.
- Shouting or yelling at ANYONE MUST be avoided.
- Threat of physical abuse or violence to ANYONE MUST be avoided.
- Attempts to move child(ren) away from the sight and/or hearing range of the Supervisor is prohibited.
- Parents and/or designees must avoid each other completely, no exceptions.
- There will be no correspondence (e.g. regarding child support) or messages to the other parent by means of the child(ren) or the Supervisor.
- It is prohibited to use the visitation, scheduled exchange site or surrounding areas for the service of court documents.
- The Supervisor will only exchange information in regards to the child(ren)’s medical needs (i.e. medications, dietary needs) related to a particular parent-time visit. Only prescription medication may be sent in pre-measured doses. Any other dietary (food) requests are not monitored or enforced. Custodial and visiting parties are responsible to meet the needs of children while children are in each individual’s care, e.g. diaper bag or baby food.
- Parents must not share detailed Court information or Court documents with the child(ren) or make promises to the child(ren) about future living arrangements, time-sharing, or visitation modifications. Discussions and activities should focus on the present so as to avoid added pressure and/or disappointment of the child(ren).
- Parents will not speak negatively about the child(ren)’s other parent and his/her family on front of the child(ren). Concerns should be addressed during office hours.
- Parents must not question the child(ren) about the other parent’s whereabouts or activities.
- The non-custodial parent may bring a snack for the child(ren), unless prohibited by the custodial parent.
- No gifts for the child(ren) are permitted, with the exception of the child(ren)’s birthday(s), Christmas, Hanukkah or other holidays at which gifts are usually given. The Supervisor will not monitor or enforce what is given.
- No photographs may be taken during visits without the prior approval of the Supervisor, the child(ren), and the custodial parent. The custodial parent must sign a consent form prior to photographs being taken. A Supervisor shall not take photographs of the parents nor the child(ren). NO audio nor visual recording is permitted for any reason.
- There shall be no permanent alteration of the child(ren) during visitation without prior written approval of the custodial parent. This includes, but not limited to: haircuts, tattoos, body/ear piercing, etc.
Specific Custodial Parent Guidelines:
For supervised exchanges, the custodial parent arrive fifteen (15) minutes prior to the start of the scheduled exchange and return exactly at the end of the scheduled exchange. Custodial parent and/or designees will be required to leave the area immediately upon the exchange of child(ren) and picking up child(ren).
Custodial Parent must comply with all requirements of the Court order without exception.
Specific Non-Custodial Parent Guidelines:
Will arrive at the exact hour of the scheduled exchange and will return fifteen (15) minutes prior to the end of the scheduled exchange.
Fee for Services must be paid in full, in-cash or credit card only, prior to each visit. No refunds.
The non-custodial parent must arrive promptly at the scheduled time of the parent-time visit. If a parent or designee is more that 5 minutes early or late, he/she will pay $2.00 for each additional minute after the 5 minute grace period. No refunds.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THE SUPERVISOR?
The Supervisor will be present at all times during the parent-time visit.
The Supervisor will document interactions taking place between parent and child during parent-time.
The Supervisor is mandated by the Court to terminate any parent-time visit in which the non-custodial parent fails to follow the direction of the Supervisor.
The Supervisor cannot relay messages between non-custodial and custodial parents except when communication is regarding the arrangement of parent-time.
Family members and friends authorized by the Court to participate in the parent-time visit that do not comply with the Supervisor’s guidelines and rules will result in the cancellation of the supervised parent-time visit.
The information on the website is general in nature and not intended to apply to anyone’s personal circumstances, it is designed for informational purposes only. This website is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice.