When determining child custody and visitation arrangements in divorce proceedings, the aim of all decisions is to serve the best interests of the child. Sometimes, this will mean that one parent will only be granted supervised visitation rights in order to ensure a child’s safety, while also facilitating a continued relationship between the parent and the child. Establishing such conditions may be a long process, and it may involve court proceedings. The Nashville child custody lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC help clients navigate these proceedings in order to make sure that the parent’s and child’s rights are properly represented. Our firm is dedicated to offering experienced, knowledgeable legal representation for clients going through the potentially emotional process of divorce. We provide guidance and support in all types of family law matters.Tennessee Laws Regarding Supervised Visitation
When a divorce involves minor children, certain custody arrangements must be made. In Tennessee, ‘Parental Responsibilities’ are established by a court to determine which parent will have primary physical and legal custody, or both, of a child. Physical custody means which parent will primarily reside with the child, while legal custody refers to which parent will have decision-making rights regarding the child’s schooling, health care, and other important matters. Tennessee encourages both parents to be involved in their child’s life, to the extent that each parent’s involvement serves the child’s best interests. In some instances, this means that one parent is only granted supervised visitation rights.
Supervised visitation is court-ordered, and it allows a non-custodial parent to spend an allotted amount of time with his or her child, either under another person’s supervision or at an assigned facility. Supervision can be overseen either by a professional, who is paid for his or her time, or by a friend or relative close to the child.
Under Tennessee law, courts will order supervised visitation in situations involving domestic violence, if a child is in foster care, or when a child’s parent has been incarcerated. When going through divorce proceedings, one spouse can file a request that the other spouse only be allowed to participate in supervised visits with a child. In making this request, a parent must provide compelling evidence as to why unsupervised visits would be against the child’s best interests. This evidence may include showing that the other parent has engaged in drug or alcohol abuse, has neglected the child in the past, or has a history of spousal or child abuse.
Pursuant to Tennessee Code Section 36-6-301, supervised visitation orders preserve a non-custodial parent’s right to visitation without compromising a child’s well-being. Although courts strive to honor a parent’s visitation rights, in some circumstances, a court may determine that in the interest of a child’s emotional or physical health, no visitation should be granted. Supervised visitation arrangements are usually granted on a temporary basis, and they can be adjusted following a given period of time. Often, a court will issue an order that visitation be witnessed by an expert to observe how parent-child interactions develop and subsequently determine if unsupervised visits are appropriate.Retain an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Nashville to Pursue Your Goals
When a parent is a potential danger to a child, proper actions must be taken to make sure that the child remains safe and that the other parent is not alienated from the child. In divorces involving a spouse’s substance abuse, domestic violence, or other serious matters, it is important to have an experienced legal advocate on your side. The child custody attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC assist parents in protecting their children during divorce proceedings. We work for people throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including in Nashville, Franklin, Hillsboro Village, Charlotte, and East Nashville. If you need assistance in requesting a supervised visitation order, contact our attorneys online or at 615-800-7096 to find out more about how we can help.