Florida courts presume it is in the child’s best interests to maintain a close and continuing relationship with both parents through a time-sharing agreement that allows equal time spent with the child, unless there is clearer and more compelling proof that shows otherwise. Sometimes, parties can also settle a workable agreement that does not necessarily split the child’s time equally.
Unfortunately, there are also situations that require supervised time-sharing when a parent endangers a child. Some family circumstances are too severe that time-sharing warrants the presence of another responsible adult, who can be a trusted relative, a close friend or a trained social worker.
What causes supervised time-sharing?
Although the judge often considers supervised time-sharing as a last resort, risk factors that can warrant it include behavioral patterns related to:
- Parental neglect
- Mental health problems
- Alcohol or drug addiction
- Physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse
- Other potentially dangerous scenarios, such as child abduction or kidnapping
Both parents need to know the details surrounding the supervised visit. Then, the supervisor monitors all parent-child interactions. They must promote the child’s best interests during the entire visit by always being in the room and traveling with the child to and from the parent’s home or a court-approved neutral location.
When does the court restore unsupervised time-sharing?
The court may restore unsupervised time-sharing if the parent demonstrates that they have corrected the reasons for the supervised time-sharing. For example, they must show they have completed court-ordered anger management courses or rehabilitation programs. The parent must also prove their improved behavior around the child. However, it is still up to the judge to approve or deny a request based on evaluating how the parent keeps their child safe. Thus, parents facing time-sharing concerns must work with their legal advocate to protect their parental rights and their child’s future.