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  1. #1
    DeclansDad Guest

    Question longterm impact of supervised visitation

    I am from IL and I have an 8 month old son, who I saw the first week of birth and have been chased out by her and her family. We have been going to court for the past 7 months with her continuing to drag this out. Now she is saying that I have to have supervised visitation because I have been out of his life for so long. Understand this is by no fault of my own, my lawyer got the six months the ex girlfriend wanted, down to two and she is paying for it, I need to know what the long term effects of supervised visitation are, upon the possibility of my wanting joint/full custody and/or full physical custody.

    I want to see my son and I am willing to do this, just so I can see him, but I want to know that this will not harm me in the long run.

  2. #2
    In Illinois, supervised visitation usually is ordered only under specific circumstances:

    1) You pose a flight risk,
    2) You don't have parenting skills and you need help learning how to properly care for/react with/respond to a child.
    3) You pose a physical or sexual threat to the child.

    If the cause for supervised visits is #1 and is untrue, you can post a bond or other surety that you would forfeit if you fled. If it is true, you should be supervised.

    If the cause is #3, it is my humble opinion you (or anyone who fits this description) should not be allowed any contact, supervised or otherwise, with any child, and such persons should be sterilized to make certain they cannot procreate. Harsh, but hey, I say what I feel.

    If the cause is #2, and you are simply inexperienced, you do have other options. Go to a local community college and sign up for Early Childhood Education classes. After just 6 credit hours in Illinois, you'd be qualified to work in a daycare and certainly be qualified for unsupervised visits. In the meantime, go along with the supervision, while taking the classes. I can't think of a better way to prove your commitment to your child and that certainly won't hurt you in a future hearing.

    If her reasons are simply you don't have a relationship with the child, the very simple arguement you can make is to ask her "does the child ever go to a babysitter? if so, how is that not harmful for the child to have that contact? if the babysitter has a relationship with the child, how did that happen? there had to be a first time there, too."

    There are of course other reasons for court ordered supervision, I just went through some of the most common. Do whatever it takes, but get involved and stay involved.

    One last thing. You mention you have an attorney...what kind of attorney allows arguements of support and visititation to be linked? Or am I misunderstanding here? Legally, they cannot be linked and visitation cannot be denied due to support being owed.

  3. #3
    DeclansDad Guest
    Thank you. Fortunately I do not fit any of the above listed 1-3, I have been around kids for quite some time(years). I had to teach my sons mother how to change a diaper. I have taken a couple parenting classes for posterities(court room) sake. With 4 nephews and 2 neices, all between the ages of 2-7, I am quite prepared for this. Not to mention the the vast number of friends that I have babysat for, there really is no reason, my ex's lawyer is merely stating that her client (my ex) because I have not been around my son for the past seven months that I should have supervised visitation. The terms were originally for six months supervised visitation with a member of my ex's family and my ex paying half the bill. My lawyer talked them down to two months supervised visitation at a local facility and my ex paying the whole bill. I need to know what affects this will have when I go for full/joint custody or anything else along those lines.

    Also, I have been saving 20% of each paycheck knowing that when that comes around, I will have it. I had to go after my ex to see my son, and she has been delaying these cases since last year. As of yet, support has not been discussed, but being wise, I have saved the money anyway.

  4. #4
    4gals1guy Guest
    So after the 2 months, you'll go to unsupervised visitations? I wouldn't think that would affect your future proceedings. We had to have visitations once a month for 2 months before we could have EOW in order to "ease into" a more regular schedule. At the time, it seemed like a long time. But it went fast, and now that the new schedule is on track, that is long ago history. Just be sure you stick to whatever schedule you get, and never be late, etc. When you show them you're just as responsible as her, you'll have just as much right. Sorry you're going through this. Your little one is lucky to have a dad who cares so much, and tries so hard for the relationship. Many don't. Good luck!

  5. #5
    Two more thoughts for you:

    First, the supervised visitation may just work out well for you. Since your ex or one of her family members is to be there, the assumption is so that the baby can 'meet you' with the comfort of someone they knew present. Having these contacts supervised by a third party may be a saving grace.

    If your ex, or her designated family member does anything to other than helpfully facilitate your becoming acquainted with your child, you will have a witness. One who will be writing EVERYTHING down. It will never be your word against someone else's. If things go poorly because of the behavior of the other adult, the supervisor can then state the visit would be more productive if they are not present in the room for the duration of the actual visit. That, more than anything, would go very far in the eyes of the court.

    The other thought is this:
    If you can, you may want to think about talking to another attorney. Just to get a second opinion. Something still doesn't sound right about this. I don't know where you are in Illinois, but if you can get another attorney's opinion regarding the feeling and temperature of the courts/judges in your county, it may not be a bad thing.

    I just find it a little strange that without provocation, your attorney is willing to let this go this way. Have you asked your attorney specifically what potential or likely impact going along with this will have on future custody motions? Or is your attorney just trying to avoid taking a crap shoot with the courts? That is not a bad strategy, by the way, because there are no guarantees with the courts. Is your attorney trying to negotiate it all, including the eventual custody decision so that an agreed upon order is entered? That is always the better way, but only if what you are agreeing to in the interim isn't going to hurt you in the long run. Without it clearly laid out that you are going to do this for two months and then, barring some horrible report from the supervisor of the visits, you will then begin an unsupervised visitation schedule, you are taking a chance. How big of a chance, I don't know, but if I were you, I'd find out first.

    I'm sorry, but I really don't know the answer to that as it is not something that is legislated. But it may be a matter of case law, and that is why I suggest a consult with another attorney if yours is not answering that question.

  6. #6
    DeclansDad Guest
    Well, as the story continues, court was today and we negotiated everything outside of court regarding my 'supervised' visitation with my son... it is established that 3 hrs every saturday, I will go to a facility and visit with my son, with some one he nor I know. This will continue for 8 weeks and we will go back to court to settle the rest of the mess. My lawyer also agreed that my ex can garnish my wages, which I could really care less about, if I mail it or she takes it, one less stamp I have to lick. With all of this, I had to trade one saturday so I could see him on Easter... With all this, my ex has agreed to pay for the supervised visitation, except for the difference of seeing him on easter, that I will pay. So now after a fun day in downtown Chicago, I have walked away with 8 weeks supervised visitation, a holiday with my son and my wages garnished. The thing that is still bothering me is that my lawyer agreed to give my ex 'temporary' sole custody while this is going on. I do not agree with anything that has happened, but want to see my little boy before he starts driving. If anyone knows of anything I should have or could have done better please advise, next court date is May 21st and I plan to be overly prepared. Thanks.

  7. #7
    Be very careful of the 'sole' custody part. Sole custody means that she has the legal right to make decisions regarding your child. Everything from medical to religious to schooling/day care is affected by that one little word.

    Joint custody means that decisions are to be made jointly, that you have equal say in the upbringing. She can be awarded physical, or primary custody under the ruling of joint, which in reality means she will be making most day to day decisions anyway. But, sole custody means the decisions are hers alone in the final analysis and if you don't like what she does, you'll have to take her to court over the decision.

    In reality, the parent with physical custody does make the decisions and if they are not taking into consideration the NCP's feelings or wishes, you'll probably end up in court anyway. At lease with joint custody as a starting point, you'll have one less argument to make in that eventuality - you will already have been awarded the right to be involved in those decisions.

    The worst thing you can do would be to allow sole custody with a Joint Parenting Agreement. The two are basically mutually exclusive and usually lead to nothing but confusion, even in the courts. I mention this because when one parent wants to retain decision making ability, they will 'offer' a JPA to the other. Then you get to first battle which part of the document supercedes which, i.e., which will be followed in the final analysis. It is of benefit to a custodial parent, definitely not of benefit to the NCP.

    Good luck with the visitations. It sounds like you'll get a fair chance to prove yourself.

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