Not All Supervised Visitation is Created Equally

Father and Mother have (now) 15 year old Son.

Father and Mother divorce.

Father is a lawyer.

Mother suffers from bipolar disorder.

In their paternity settlement agreement, Mother and Father agree that Mother’s timesharing with Son will be supervised by a specified psychologist (Psychologist), or any “doctor” he recommends. Their agreement becomes part of the final judgment.

Psychologist delegates supervising timesharing to his own Daughter, a seemingly less experienced and less qualified social worker pursuing a doctorate in psychology.

Mother reportedly brings two knives (an ornamental dagger and a twelve inch drywall knife) into Psychologist’s office when she arrives for timesharing with Son one day.

During timesharing, Mother allegedly stabs Son repeatedly, seriously wounding him.

Father sues Psychologist (and his business partner) for damages from Psychologist’s alleged negligence … and claimed improper billing of supervision at Psychologist’s rate rather than Daughter’s rate.

Psychologist defends that Mother has never been dangerous in Psychologist’s presence during the time that Psychologist did personally supervise Mother’s timesharing with Son.

Mother is charged with attempted murder and aggravated child abuse, but Mother is found incompetent to stand trial and is placed in an inpatient psychiatric facility.

Dedicated supervised visitation centers typically have strict formal security protocols, trained security personnel and security devices.

The choice of supervisor and the environment in which supervised visitation will take place should be appropriate to the person being supervised and the reason for the supervision.

Too often this is not appreciated by parties and, sometimes, their counsel.

Read more in this St. Petersburg Times article: Father sues over attack on son during supervised visitation.