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What is 'supervised visitation' in Georgia child custody?

This blog has discussed some basics about Child custody determination in Georgia divorce and other family court proceedings. We have touched on the fact that part and parcel of the legal custody process in the state is the concept of the 'best interests of the child.' One of our posts briefly described some of the factors used by a court in determining whether joint or sole custody is appropriate, and whether one parent should have primary residential care of the child. We've also mentioned visitation and the idea of parenting time.

In usual circumstances, when a parent is awarded parenting time or visitation with a child, he or she and the custodial parent will agree on a time and place for the exchange of the child, and the visiting parent will be able to take the child and spend time with him or her alone. However, in certain cases, a court may order that any visitation by a non-custodial parent be supervised. This usually occurs if there is some question of risk to the child from the visiting parent.

In fact, Georgia Code Section 19-9-7 requires that the judge only allow visitation or parenting time to a parent who has committed family violence if provided that adequate care has been taken to ensure the child's safety. In these cases, a judge can order that another person or agency supervise the visitation time between the parent and the child, and if that person is an agreed upon friend or family member, the court must set out what the guidelines are for such supervised visitation. The judge can also take other actions, such as requiring a bond from the non-custodial parent to return the child safely, requiring the parent to attend family violence intervention classes, and prohibiting overnight visitation.

Parents generally want to be part of their children's lives, but also want their child to be safe. Those Georgia residents who believe their ex-partner may be a danger, or who are afraid their child custody or visitation rights may be curtailed by such accusations, may wish to talk to an experienced family attorney to learn about protecting their children and their rights.

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