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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW IF YOU HAVE SUPERVISED CHILD VISITATION

If a court has ordered that your visitation time with your children be supervised, you likely know why that decision was made. Supervised visitation is most commonly ordered when there has been an issue with a parent's behavior (or alleged behavior) that concerns a judge.

Of course, if there's a history of domestic violence, a parent won't be allowed to be alone with their kids. However, problems with substance abuse can also warrant supervised visitation. So can allegations of neglect.

Whether you agree with the need for supervised visitation or not, it's essential to realize that a family court judge has ordered it for your children's well-being -- not to punish you. If your co-parent has made false accusations, you and your attorney need to fight them.

In the meantime, it's important to make the most of the time you get with your children. Use this time to strengthen your bond with them or -- if necessary -- rebuild your relationship.

It's essential to understand the terms of your supervised visitation and abide by them. Not doing so will only hurt your quest to gain greater access to your kids. That means knowing the schedule and sticking to it. Be at the appointed visitation spot on time and with activities planned for the kids. Don't ask for changes to the schedule unless it's absolutely necessary.

Sometimes, supervised visitations take place in a parent's home or that of a family member with another adult in attendance. Other times, they occur in a supervised visitation center where there may be multiple parents and children with social workers or other professionals monitoring them. Whichever the situation it is, know the rules and follow them.

What you and your kids do during your visits will depend on their ages and interests. You may want to bring games, books or craft projects to work on. Have an activity planned that you can finish during your allotted time, if possible. Be prepared for your kids to have their own plans. Maybe they'll bring something they want to do. Maybe they'd rather just talk. They may not feel like interacting.

Don't use this time to criticize your co-parent or question your kids about what's happening in their home. Focus on enjoying your time with them and strengthening your relationship. If you have questions or concerns about the terms of your supervised visitation, talk with your attorney.

Orion MeyersFamily Law