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Why and When Do Florida Courts Order Supervised Time-Sharing?


Supervised time-sharing – also known as safety-focused visitation – refers to an arrangement where a child’s parent is allowed to spend time with the child only in the presence of another adult.

Depending on the circumstances, the adult supervising the time-sharing can be the child’s other parent, a family friend, close relative, or a social worker.

In Florida, supervised time-sharing becomes part of a child custody arrangement when it is necessary to protect the child’s safety and health from the parent who was granted supervised time with the child.

If you were ordered supervised time-sharing or think that the other parent should not be left alone with your child, speak with our Orlando child custody attorney from The Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee to discuss your options.

Why Do Florida Courts Require Supervised Time-Sharing?

Florida’s family law presumes that shared custody is best for the child unless one or both parents are deemed unfit to be a parent. In Florida, courts refrain from ordering supervised time-sharing unless they absolutely have to.

Since shared parental responsibility is presumed to be in the best interests of the child, courts prefer to grant each parent shared physical time-sharing and visitation rights. However, when one of the parents can potentially cause harm or endanger the child, the court may order supervised time-sharing.

In fact, a court may require supervised visitation despite the objections of one or both parents. The terms of supervised visitation vary depending on what the court considers appropriate given the circumstances.

When Do Courts Order Supervised Time-Sharing in Florida?

More often than not, Florida courts require supervised time-sharing when there has been a demonstrated history of:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Domestic violence
  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Substance abuse
  • Parental neglect

The other parent, a social worker, or the court can bring a claim for safety-focused time-sharing. Florida law has certain requirements for supervised time-sharing arrangements:

  1. The parents must agree on the details of the supervision, including the duration of those visits and the location.
  2. The court must select a supervisor who is capable of protecting the child. In many cases, close relatives and family friends will be appointed to serve as the supervisor. In other cases, the court will appoint a trained social worker or another trained professional.

Can You Modify a Supervised Time-Sharing Arrangement?

Often, supervised time-sharing is a temporary solution, as it can sometimes lead to full time-sharing rights. The more cooperative the supervised parent is and the more he or she is willing to work with the other parent to establish an effective time-sharing arrangement, the higher the chance of restoring full parental rights.

In some cases, courts order supervised visitation for a set amount of time. In other cases, the court requires supervised time-sharing indefinitely.

A supervised parent can fight for his or her parental rights by seeking help from an Orlando child custody attorney. Here at The Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, our skilled lawyers can help you petition the court for unsupervised visits with your child. Let us help you modify the existing child custody order. Call at 407-521-7171 to get a free consultation.


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