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How do supervised visitation and custody exchanges work?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Child custody

One of the biggest concerns divorcing parents in Leesburg have centers around losing contact with their children. When a parent has a questionable history, these concerns are even more pronounced, especially during the child custody stage of divorce.

As is the case in all states, Virginia courts want to keep both parents involved in their kids’ lives. If there are safety concerns, courts still strive to promote parent/child relationships. Often this means ordering supervised visitation in a safe setting.

Why do courts require supervised visitation?

Preserving the safety, emotional health and physical wellbeing of children is the top priority in family courts. Ordering supervised visitation and supervised custody exchanges, when applicable, allows courts to balance the benefits of parent/child contact with the safety of the involved children. 

Situations that may require supervised visitation include:

  • Evidence of domestic violence
  • Current or prior criminal convictions
  • History of substance abuse
  • Substantiated accusations of violence

Supervised visitation may occur in a safe setting, such as at an agency certified by the court. However, in some cases, the visit can take place in a different location under the supervision of a friend or family member. Often, this is an option when the supervised parent has issues that put the child at risk, such as when a parent has a substance abuse problem.

What about supervised child custody exchanges?

A court may order supervised child custody exchanges in some circumstances. Typically, judges order supervised swaps when two parents cannot get along or when there is a pattern of violence between co-parents. In these situations, children are typically not at risk of harm by either parent.

If you are worried about losing access to your child, consider learning more about child custody and visitation laws for Virginia families.