During some divorce and custody cases, courts must make decisions about which parent will watch over the children and how visitation time will be divided. While most parents are able to work out a custody plan that works for their family, some cases are brought to a judge. In Florida, there is no presumption that parents should share joint custody.
In some cases, a judge will order that the non-custodial parent should have supervised visitation. The point of supervised visitation is to make sure that the non-custodial parent is able to see their child in a structured environment under observation by another individual such as a social worker or a family member. Judges generally order supervised visitation when there is a question about the parent's fitness. For example, allegations of domestic violence or substance abuse could lead to supervised visitation.
Supervised visitation may be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis. If the parent is accused of abusing alcohol or drugs, the supervision condition could be lifted after they consistently pass drug screening tests over a specified period of time.
A judge's custody decision will generally be made in consideration of the best interests of the child. To change a condition that was previously ordered, the parent requesting a modification must demonstrate that a change in circumstances has occurred.
A family law attorney may be able to help guide a parent who is going through a divorce or requesting a custody modification. The lawyer could help the client present arguments based on relevant state laws and the facts of the case.