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Michigan Family Law Blog

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

What Factors Does a Judge Consider for Supervised or Restricted Parenting Time?

When a judge orders supervised or restricted parenting time, it means that the judge has determined that this type of visitation between the parent and the child is in the best interest of the child. For some reason, the judge determined that allowing you to spend time with your child without supervision would be dangerous for or potentially harmful to your child. An order for supervised or restricted parenting time can be devastating for a parent. Our Michigan parenting time lawyers can help you appeal these orders and argue for unsupervised visitation.

Factors That May Result in Restricted or Supervised Parenting Time

There are many factors that a judge considers when approving a parenting time agreement or developing a parenting time agreement. MCL §722.27a sets forth nine factors a judge uses when determining the frequency, length, and type of parenting time:

  • A child’s special needs or circumstances;

  • Whether the child is nursing;

  • Reasonable risk of neglect or abuse of the child;

  • Reasonable risk of abuse of a parent;

  • Any inconvenience or burden on the child because of travel for parenting time;

  • If a parent can be expected to exercise parenting time pursuant to a court order;

  • Has the parent failed to use parenting time;

  • The threat that the child will be hidden or detained; and,

  • Other relevant factors.

The factors are designed to determine the best interest of the child regarding parenting time. When there are certain factors present in a case, the judge may decide to restrict parenting time or order supervised parenting time. Some of the factors that could persuade a judge to order supervised or restricted parenting time include a history of:

  • Child abuse or neglect;

  • Domestic abuse;

  • Criminal convictions or currently in prison/jail;

  • Sexual abuse or inappropriate sexual behavior with a child;

  • Mental illness; or,

  • Substance abuse.

In addition, if a judge believes a parent may kidnap a child, the judge may order supervised parenting time. Other reasons for supervised or restricted parenting time are when the child specifically asks for supervised visits or if the parent and the child are estranged.

Three Types of Supervised Parenting Time

The judge determines which type of supervised parenting time is appropriate based on the facts of the case. For instance, if the reason for supervised parenting time is suspected child abuse, the most restrictive form of supervision, Agency Supervised Visitation, is used. An agent for child services supervises each visit watching everything you do and listening to everything that is said. Only the child may initiate physical contact, and the contact is closely observed.

For situations in which interacting with the parent may not be dangerous or harmful, but the judge finds that the parent and child would benefit from professional help, the judge may order Therapist Supervised Visitation. This type of supervised parenting time is not as restrictive as Agency Supervised Visitation, but the therapist is present and assumes a role in facilitating visitation between you and your child.

The third type of supervised visitation, Family or Friend Supervised Visitation, is the least restrictive form of supervised parenting time. A family member or friend must be present to supervise you at all times during the visit.

Contact A Michigan Parenting Time Lawyer for More Information

If you have been notified that a government agency or other party is requesting supervised parenting time, contact Michigan Family Law lawyer Cameron C. Goulding to discuss possible options for blocking this request. We understand that this is a difficult time for you and your child. We want to help.


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