19 Dec Supervised Visitations During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Not all divorce proceedings can be amicable, especially when the custody and safety of a child are in question. Supervised visitations are one of the best ways to ensure a child remains safe in the presence of their noncustodial parent during high-risk divorce situations. However, with the onset of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, many court systems have had to find new ways to conduct these interactions. Read on to learn about the current procedure for supervised visitations during the Coronavirus pandemic. Also, you will learn how to make the most of this time with your child.
Traditional Supervised Visitations
As previously stated, supervised visits are a common court practice that helps keep a child safe while still upholding standard appointments with their noncustodial parent. A neutral third-party professional will observe the parent and child during these visits to guarantee a secure and pleasant environment. These individuals, often social or child protection workers, monitor both physical and verbal interaction between parent and child to best foster a structured, healthy experience.
These programs are incredibly useful tools for keeping a child in contact with a parent if there are limiting factors for one or both parents. However, they can also supervise the interactions of those who have a history of abuse, drug usage, and mental health issues. In the end, supervised visitation is a valuable resource for establishing some order in the chaos that a child might have witnessed.
Changes Brought About by COVID-19
However, this process has undergone a few structural changes with the lockdown brought on by the onset of COVID-19. Due to the risk presented by the virus, meeting in person is no longer an option, and the court has set about finding new ways to conduct these scheduled appointments. Here are some procedures to expect moving forward.
Non-Guaranteed Physical Visits
Since COVID-19 is such an infectious disease, many local judicial professionals would prefer not to take the risk of transferring the virus further. As such, there currently is not a guarantee that you will receive in-person visits with your child. Ultimately, it is up to your appointed monitor to determine whether it is safe enough to continue your in-person visits. So make sure you contact them to discuss the situation and determine what your options are. Even with limited physical interactions, there are still ways you can see your children.
Supervised Virtual Visitations
Despite these challenges, you still have the right to see your children, and modern technology makes accommodating this need much easier. In many cases, virtual visitations have become the standard for conducting court-appointed interactions. This way, you can still talk and play games with your child without the additional risk of transmitting COVID-19. These calls also make it easier for the monitor to oversee your appointment. However, it is important to note that they have the same restrictions as an in-person visit, and not every parent will qualify for them. For instance, cases involving child abuse or domestic violence will not warrant the use of supervised visitation, even over the internet.
Tips for Running a Supervised Virtual Visit
Now that you know how supervised visitations during the Coronavirus pandemic will look, it is important to understand how to make the most of this time. Adjusting to this new visit format will take some time and practice. But you can still have quality time with your child as long as you adhere to a few vital rules. Here are a few tips for making the most of this new visitation procedure.
Develop a Plan for the Visit Ahead of Time
Like with any supervised visit, you have a limited amount of time to interact with your child. As such, you must have a plan for the session ahead of time to have all the fun and bonding you want. Use the days leading up to the call to gather any necessary games or materials and map out the activities you want to participate in. You may even want to write down a few things you want to ask them or talk about.
Set Up in a Quiet Space for the Call
Next, make sure that you have a designated spot for conducting these calls. Like with any video call, surrounding noises or distractions can hinder the experience. Because of this, choose a quiet place, removed from the hustle and bustle of the rest of your home.
Only Allow Approved Parties To Participate
It is vital that you only allow pre-approved individuals to participate in the call. This includes you, the monitor, and your child. When involving other parties, such as your new significant other or another family member, they must have the authorization to be on the call with you. Otherwise, you must insist that they wait in another room.
Communicate in Ways the Monitor Can Perceive
Another rule to be aware of is that you can only communicate with your child in ways that the third-party observer can understand. This means no whispering to them or trying to pass notes over the screen. This minimizes the risk of discussing inappropriate subjects, which can make the child uncomfortable or confused. Likewise, you cannot talk to them about the divorce case or anything related to the ongoing proceedings.
Be Flexible With Your Schedule
You will want to be as flexible as possible with your schedule when arranging supervised virtual visits. Maintaining these regular interactions with your child is one of the best ways to help them navigate the days leading up to and following your divorce. So you must be available to get them through this trying time. Make sure you leave enough time in your schedule for these calls, and do not double-book when you know you have one coming up.
If you are currently in the midst of a divorce and undergoing supervised visits with your child, you do not want to go into this process alone. Give us at LaCoste Family Law a call. As father’s rights attorneys in Washington state, we have dedicated ourselves to protecting your rights during divorce proceedings. Whether you are participating in supervised visits or fighting for custody, we will work with you to navigate these hurdles.