Supervised Visitation in a Texas Divorce: Can it happen to me?

The general position of the State of Texas, its courts and its legislature is that parents should be able to have fulfilling relationships with their children. This means being able to not only share in the rights and duties that are inherent in parenting, but also to have the ability to spend time together. Unfortunately, as the attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC can attest to, things don’t always work out that way.

Reasons a Parent May Have their Visitation Supervised

On occasion, one parent is ordered by a court to have what’s known as supervised visitation with their children due to a host of reasons including:

  1. Physical or emotional abuse
  2. Mental illness or
  3. Drug addiction
  4. Abduction

Physical or Emotional Abuse

A parent may be denied visitation rights if:

  1. the parent has abused the child or
  2. threatened physical violence
  3. Where sufficient proof is offered of potential emotional harm

Mental Illness

If a parent suffers from a mental incapacity, then a court may determine there is sufficient reason for supervised visitation.

However, only if the court finds the parent as a result mental incapacity presents a reasonable potential for harm to the child.

Drug Addition

If there are allegations regarding drug abuse a court may require both parents to be tested for illegal drugs or substance abuse. Testing positive on any kind of illegal substance will have a negative impact on your divorce or child custody case in Texas.

This could lead a judge to require your visitation with your children to be supervised. Supervised visitation could continue until the Court is satisfied that you have demonstrated that any issues you had with substance abuse have been resolved. During this time or even after you could be required to:

  1. submit to random alcohol or
  2. drug testing


A parent’s visitation can be order supervised on a showing that there is a strong imminent probability of abduction

What is Supervised Visitation?

Supervised Visitation means that the non-custodial parent may not be alone with the child during visitation. Possible options of supervised visitation include:

  1. Neutral Third Party
  2. Other Parent
  3. Monitored by Professionals

Neutral Third Party

Supervised visitation by a neutral third party could include:

  1. a grandparent or
  2. other family member
  3. friends of the family
  4. close neighbors and
  5. child care providers

Other Parent

Sometimes the other parent will supervise a parents visitation if the relationship between the parents is not antagonistic.

Monitored by Professionals

When the above two options are not possible then a court may order the visitation to be supervised by professionals. Two such organizations available in Houston and surrounding areas are the Safe Program and Guardians of Hope.

Generally Supervised Visits by these professionals:

  1. Is expensive – the expense may create a deterrent to access and possession by the supervised parent.
  2. may also provide reports and recommendation to the court based on the success or failure of the supervised visits.

Things to Keep in Mind if Supervised Visitation is Ordered

Supervised visitation will typically occur in conjunction with a court approved program whose role is to act as a “safe space” for the supervised parent to interact with the children.

While in this setting the parent who’s having visitation must keep in mind that the things they say and do are being observed closely.

It is best to keep opinions regarding the situation of the court order or the limitations that it puts on the parent and the children. The important thing to note is that supervised visitation does not necessarily have to be permanent.

SAFE Program and Guardians of Hope

Two agencies that handle supervised visitation in the Harris County and Montgomery county include:

  1. SAFE and
  2. Guardians of Hope

These programs offer supervised visitation in a neutral setting for parents to visit with their children while being monitored by staff members. These programs are usually court-ordered in situations where there have been allegations of physical or emotional abuse, drug use or other problems.

The goal of these programs is to provide a stress-free environment for children to visit with a parent. Another benefit of these program there is no interaction between the parents and the entire time a parent spends with their child is devoted to fun and positive interaction.

SAFE Program

Guardians of Hope

Registration is done at the Victim

Assistance Centre, 1310 Prairie Suite 1030.

Parties should call 713-274-7391 to

schedule their appointment.

Guardians of Hope, 2211 Rayford Rd., Ste. 111 #22, Spring, TX 77386
Phone: (713)542-1110 – Fax: (281)350-9373
Alternate Phone: (832) 610-4914

Restoring Standard Visitation

In order to get back to a more “standard” possession schedule with their children, a parent who is ordered to have supervised visitation should follow the guidelines of the court order. You will need to start building a case in order to ask the court for standard or standard expanded possession expanded visitation.

Some things you can do to help your case include:

  1. Never miss a scheduled visit
  2. Arrive on time
  3. If you miss a visit schedule a makeup as soon as possible
  4. During your visits put the sole focus of your visit on the children
  5. keep any comments about the case to yourself
  6. Avoid giving any opinions on the existing judgment or the supervised visitation order
  7. Be polite with the monitor even if you develop strong negative feelings toward them
  8. Never, speak negatively about the other parent to or in the presence of the child
  9. Never, use vulgar or abusive language toward or in the presence of the child

The parent is there is there for one purpose and it’s not to inquire about what’s happening with the other parent or anything other than a bonding opportunity. By following the court order and working on whatever issues caused the supervised visitation to be ordered in the first place, a parent can attempt to modify their court order to allow for unsupervised, customary visits.

The attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC are attuned to the issues facing parents with court ordered supervised visitation and will work with you to ensure that you are able to see your children as frequently possible. While it is never easy to be denied time with your children there are opportunities to normalize your visitation schedule and our attorneys are here to help. Contact us today for a consultation free of charge.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Child Custody Basics in Texas
  2. Texas Child Visitation Modification
  3. 10 Quick Tips About Parental Visitation
  4. Texas Parental Visitation – Texas Standard Possession Orders in Harris and Montgomery County, Texas – Part 1
  5. Texas Parental Relocation
  6. Geographic Restrictions in Child Visitation Orders in Texas
  7. Grandparents’ Rights in Texas
  8. Grandparent Rights, Standing, and the Parental Presumption
  9. Divorcing After Age 50 in Texas: What it Can Mean for You and Your Spouse
  10. 7 Tips for Divorcing After Age 50 in Texas
  11. Supervised Visitation in Texas: A Necessary Safeguard
  12. Child Protective Services Investigation- What to expect and how to handle the situation, Part 2
  13. Reporting child abuse and neglect in Texas
  14. Drug and alcohol abuse: Texas parents face risks if they fail to become sober
  15. Child Protective Services: Investigation Essentials for Texas Families

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