What is Supervised Visitation? Supervised visitation takes place between the non-custodial parent and her/his child (ren) in the presence of a third party or family agency who oversees the visit to monitor and ensure the child’s physical and emotional safety. When supervision is ordered, possession and visitation are supervised by a neutral third party or family agency usually with the capacity to enforce effective measures that are normally ordered and enforced by the courts.
What is the purpose of Supervised Visitations? A supervised visit is for the benefit of the child to have safe contact with the non-custodial parent without having to participate in the parents’ mutual conflicts or other potentially dangerous circumstances.
The following is a potential list of acts and circumstances that usually occur before the custodial parent will request, and the court may order, supervised visitation between the child and the non-custodial parent:
Violence or physical endangerment – A noncustodial parent may be denied visitation rights if the parent has abused the child or threatened physical violence.
Emotional harm – Where sufficient proof is offered of potential emotional harm or where standard visitation has detrimentally affected a child’s emotional or physical welfare.
Child’s l wishes – A court may consider the child’s wishes as to visitation. The weight given to a child’s preference is dependent on the child’s age, emotional stability, maturity and motives.
Abduction – There must be a showing that there is a strong imminent probability of abduction to limit visitation on this basis.
Substance abuse – A parent who abuses drugs or alcohol may be ordered to supervise visitation restrictions if the conduct endangers the child or if the parent uses abusive language and/or mistreats the child.
Mental illness –Mental incapacity may be a reason for supervised visitation only if it is determined by the court that there is a reasonable potential for harm to the child due to such mental illness.
Sexual behavior – Courts rarely deny visitation solely on the basis of a non-marital heterosexual or same-sex relationship. Courts will, however, cancel overnight visitation by a child with a parent because of the parent’s cohabitation on a showing of an adverse and material negative impact on the child.
Incarceration – Visitations for the incarcerated may be suspended only on a showing that such visits are detrimental to the child.
What are the options for Supervised Visitations?
Presence of a “neutral” third party: examples would be grandparent or other family member, friends of the family, close neighbors, and other child care providers.
Presence of the custodial parent: This option is sometimes used when the child is very young. If this option is used the parents must work very hard to not engage in conflict affecting the child.
Presence at a neutral location and monitored by professionals. These sites are staffed by professional and volunteers are trained for supervised visits. The expense these supervised visits can be very costly and may create a deterrent to access and possession by the non-custodial parent. Such agencies may also provide reports and recommendation to the court based on the success or failure of the supervised visits. These recommendations assist the courts in making informed decisions regarding supervision and whether continued supervision is actually associated and necessary or in the best interest of the child(ren).
Texas HB 1846: Suspension or denial of issuance or renewal of a license for failure to pay child support
The court or Title IV-D agency may stay an order suspending a license conditioned on the individual’s compliance with:
- A reasonable repayment schedule that is incorporated in the order
- The requirements of a reissued and delivered subpoena
- The requirements of any court order pertaining to the possession of or access to a child
The court or Title IV-D agency may not stay an order unless the individual makes an immediate partial payment in an amount specified by the court or Title IV-D agency. The amount specified may not be less than $200.
A licensing authority that receives the information shall refuse to accept an application for issuance of a license to the obligor or renewal of an existing license of the obligor until the authority is notified by the child support agency that the obligor has:
- Paid all child support arrearages
- Made an immediate payment of not less than $200 toward child support arrearages owed and established with the agency a satisfactory repayment schedule for the remainder or is in compliance with a court order for payment of the arrearages
- Been granted an exemption as part of a court supervised plan to improve the obligor’s earnings and child support payment
- Successfully contested the denial of issuance or renewal of license
An order suspending a license rendered before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the order was rendered.
Texas HB 1846 takes effect September 1, 2013
Texas HB154: Termination of the parent-child relationship and the duty to pay child support in circumstances involving mistaken paternity. This law, effective immediately, aims to further protect a mistaken father from certain child support payment obligations. This new law also amends the current law, SB785: Mistaken Paternity.
The new law states that a petition must be filed not later than the second anniversary of the date on which the petitioner becomes aware of the facts alleged in the petition indicating that the petitioner is not the child’s genetic father.
An order termination the parent-child relationship ends the petitioner’s obligation for future support of the child as of the date the order is rendered. Also the obligation to pay interest that accrues after that date on the basis of a child support arrearage or money judgment for a child support arrearage existing on that date.
Those obligations are enforceable until satisfied by any means available for the enforcement of child support other than contempt. This applies to the current law suit pending in a trial court on the effective date of this Act or filed on or after that date is affected.