I want supervised parenting time for my ex and child. What can I do?

It is very common for clients to ask their attorneys how they can get supervised parenting time for their ex. Sometimes clients have legitimate concerns about the safety of their child. Other times, clients simply are angry at their ex and do not want them around their child at all. So what type of evidence or proof would you actually need to be awarded supervised parenting time? It may not be as easy as you think. Take a look at the different scenarios below:

“Mother is erratic and crazy”

Scenario 1: A father meets for the first time with his attorney. He explains to his attorney that he has some serious concerns for his child when she is with her mother. He explains that the mother is erratic and crazy, and that he has been seeing behavior changes from his daughter whenever she returns from her mother’s house. The father insists that he wants to request only supervised parenting time for the mother. The attorney asks the father what type of evidence does he have to show that the mother is erratic or crazy or that the child is actually in danger. The father has a few text messages between him and the mother, but nothing else. Does he have enough to be awarded supervised parenting time?

“Father tested positive for meth and cocaine”

Scenario 2: A mother shows up to meet with her attorney. She brings in five different drug tests, showing that the father tested positive for meth and cocaine. She also brings in the father’s incarceration records, as well as his most recent DUI report. The father has been uninvolved in the minor child’s life for the last three years. He has maybe seen her for a total of three days. The father is now requesting equal parenting time with the minor child. The mother wants to know if it is reasonable for her to request only supervised parenting time with the father right now.

In each of the above scenarios, there are legitimate concerns for the minor child’s wellbeing. However, there are significant differences as well. In the first scenario, the father has no hard evidence of why the mother should only have supervised parenting time. In fact, it is possible that the father is just angry with the mother. There is nothing showing that the minor child is in danger or that she would be unsafe with mother. It is very likely that the judge would not award the father supervised parenting time in this case.

In the second scenario, it is much more likely that supervised parenting time would be ordered. The mother has clear evidence that the father is not stable, he is using drugs, and has a criminal record. Further, the father has not even been around the minor child to show that he is a safe parent. It is likely the judge will require supervised parenting time, at least temporarily. The judge may also want a reunification therapy for the child and the father to rebuild their relationship. However, the judge will want the father to be clean before he can have unsupervised parenting time most likely.

So remember that you need hard evidence as to why the judge should order supervised parenting time. Some minor concerns you have for the other parent will not be sufficient or reasonable.