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Do My Visits Still Need to Be Supervised? Changing a Court Order

Supervised visitation is an intervention by the court that is exercised when direct contact between a parent (or other adult relative) and child could pose a physical, emotional, or psychological danger to the child. Visitation usually takes place in a neutral location and in the presence of a third party — either a professional supervisor or a family friend.

What contributes to the cancellation of supervision orders?

When a judge orders supervised visitation, it is often for a specific period of time and is meant to be temporary in nature. As the parent-child relationship develops and strengthens, supervision may no longer be necessary. When weighing the benefits of terminating supervision, consider these factors:

  • The comfort level of the child — if the child enjoys visits and requests more time with the parent
  • The lifestyle changes of the parent — if there is no evidence of drug use, alcohol abuse or arrest
  • The impressions of the supervisor — if the supervisor reports progress in the establishment of the parent-child bond
  • The opinion of the custodial parent — if the custodial parent reports that the child seems eager to attend visits and returns happy and relaxed

Supervision and mediation

In Illinois, many cases involving supervised visitation are resolved in mediation. If you want to change an order or have the order dropped, you can request mediation. Unless there is some glaring evidence that the parent is a danger to the child, and that evidence is supported by the child’s adverse reaction to visitation with the parent, it is likely that the visitation schedule can be increased and modified gradually to allow more hours, more days, and eventually sleepovers with the parent.

If there is some question as to the need to continue supervised visitation, the court can appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) — a neutral third party who acts on behalf of the child’s interests — to interview both parents and the children involved. The report of the GAL or the mediator weighs very heavily with the court and is the most significant factor in determining whether supervision should continue or be dropped. Children are allowed to express their opinions on the matter, but the request of a child is not considered a determining factor.

If the circumstances of your family or personal life have changed since your divorce, a Chicago-area family law attorney can assist you in requesting a modification of any order issued at the time.

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