Sometimes, the reason people separate and divorce is because of spousal abuse and/ or child abuse. If your spouse is abusing your child, severing those ties for the safety of your child (and yourself) is crucial. However, even in cases where a parent has a history of abuse, the court holds that it is important that the child maintain a relationship with both parents. For this reason, supervised parenting time is seen as an option that helps accomplish the court’s objective.
Supervised parenting time is an arrangement which allows a parent to spend parenting time with their child, while ensuring that the meeting is supervised either by a professional who is paid for their time and services, or a nonprofessional such as a friend or a relative with whom the child feels comfortable and safe. This is an option when allowing unsupervised time with the parent might place the child in danger or under undue stress. The best interest of the child is what guides the court in making the determination as to whether or not to allow a parent to have contact with the child, and then whether they will allow unsupervised visits. Tennessee state law allows the court to limit parenting time according to several factors outlined in the law, but the law still allows for the judge’s discretion, and the best interest of the child is always the first and foremost consideration.
How do I request supervised parenting time?
If your soon-to-be-former spouse has filed a request for parenting time, you can ask the court to require that their visitation be supervised. You will have to provide compelling evidence to prove to the court that unsupervised visits would pose a danger to the child. Is the child’s other parent abusing drugs and alcohol? Has the parent neglected to the child’s needs in the past? You will need to be able to provide evidence of these things in order to convince the judge that supervised visitation is in the best interest of the child.
In cases where supervised parenting time is mandated, the arrangement is usually only temporary. After the prescribed length of time, the judge may request that an expert observe the interactions between the child and the parent to see if any difficulties reveal themselves. If all seems well between them, the court may lift the order for supervised visits.
How a family law attorney can help you with your child custody case
If you are feeling nervous at the thought of your child spending large amounts of unsupervised time with their parent who has either a history of physical, sexual or psychological abuse, or has substance abuse problems, you will need to schedule some time with an experienced, Nashville family law attorney who will advocate your child’s best interests in a child custody case in Tennessee.
If you are a parent who is divorcing and you are concerned about your child’s safety when they are with your spouse, we invite you to speak to a Nashville divorce lawyer who will protect yours and your child’s best interests. Please contact the Nashville legal team at Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC to reserve an in-person or video consultation time.
Karla C. Miller has devoted her entire career to the practice of family law in Tennessee. She attended Auburn University and Nashville School of Law, and upon graduation in 1996, she opened her own law firm and has been assisting families throughout Tennessee since then. Learn more about Karla C. Miller here.