Mother holding small childThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing supervised visitation in Dayton, Ohio child custody cases. The previous article addressed the circumstances under which a court may issue an order for supervised visitation. A party seeking supervised visitation must show that the child’s exposure to the other parent in an unsupervised environment somehow threatens the child’s physical or emotional well-being. In this post, we will discuss the process the requesting party should follow when seeking supervised visitation based on such evidence. Acting in your child’s best interest is of the utmost importance. If you need assistance in a child custody matter, contact our office today to speak with an attorney.

Dayton parents seeking to modify an existing custody order must demonstrate a change in circumstances

When asking the court to issue an order for supervised visitation of a child, the requesting party must first file a motion with the court. The motion must include evidence that circumstances surrounding the arrangement have changed since the issuance of the existing court order. This means that new information must be submitted to the court demonstrating that the circumstances are different than they were at the time the court issued its last order. For example, after following an original custody order for six months, one parent now strongly believes the other to be under the influence of illegal drugs while around the child. The requesting party must include evidence of the drug use. In this example, if the parent has been arrested for such activity, the motion should include the police report or arrest record. If the belief is based on witness reports, the motion should include an affidavit from the witness regarding the drug use.

The Court may hear the supervised visitation motion on an expedited basis

Given that the well-being of the child is likely at stake, many motions for supervised visitation also include a request for an expedited hearing. Such hearings often take place within a few days of filing the motion. After hearing the evidence presented by the requesting party, there are a few likely outcomes. The court may agree that adequate evidence exists to issue a temporary order for supervised visitation. Alternatively, the court may decide that while supervised visitation is not warranted, a revision in the existing custody order reducing a parent’s time with the child is appropriate. Absent extreme circumstances, the judge will schedule an evidentiary hearing for a later time at which both parties have the opportunity to present additional evidence in support of their relative positions. If the evidence presented is inadequate, the court may deny the motion for supervised visitation altogether.

Consider the following examples. A parent suspects that the other is using drugs in the presence of the child. He seeks supervised visitation based on the fact that she shows physical signs of heroin use and requests an expedited hearing on the matter. He also requests that the child be immediately relocated from the mother’s care pending the court’s ruling. At the initial hearing, the judge will likely require the mother to undergo an immediate drug test and may grant the relocation request. If she tests positive, the judge may grant the request for supervised visitation. In another case, a parent seeks supervised visitation based on the fact that the other parent has repeatedly forgotten to pick up the child from school. Under these circumstances, the court may elect to reduce the forgetful parent’s custody to weekends so that the problem will not persist instead of ordering supervised visits.

We cannot stress enough that if you believe your child is in immediate danger, then contact the appropriate authorities. If you need assistance with a custody matter, contact our office today to speak with a Dayton child custody attorney. We also serve the areas of Beavercreek, Centerville, Clayton, Eaton, Englewood, Fairborn, Franklin, Harrison Township, Huber Heights, Kettering, Oakwood, Lebanon, Miami Township, Miamisburg, Piqua, Riverside, Springboro, Springfield, Tipp City, Trotwood, Troy, Vandalia, Waynesville, Washington Township, West Carrollton, Yellow Springs, and Xenia.

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