Restriction on Visitation Rights

In order to protect a child, a court will sometimes impose restrictions on the rights of a noncustodial parent to visit with a child. The extent of the restrictions is based upon what the court finds will best protect the child while still fostering the relationship between the child and the parent.

Basis to Restrict Visitation
Where a court finds that it is necessary to limit or supervise visitation between a parent and a child, the court will grant periods of visitation, but it will also impose restrictions as a condition of the visit. Restrictions may be imposed where a parent has physically or mentally abused the child, if a parent has a drug or alcohol abuse problem, if the parent has shown a tendency to take the child to inappropriate places or engage in inappropriate activities in the child’s presence, or if the parent has formed a relationship with someone who would abuse or harm the child.

Types of Restrictions
If a parent has mentally or physically abused a child, the court will order that visits take place for limited periods of time and that the visitation be monitored or supervised to make sure that the child is not harmed. A court can stipulate, as a condition of visitation, that the parent not consume any alcohol or illegal drugs during any visitation period. If a parent has a drug abuse problem, the court may require proof of successful completion of a drug rehabilitation program and random drug testing. The court can also stipulate that the parent refrain from engaging in any illegal activities, such as dog fighting, in the presence of the child. Where the parent is involved in a relationship with someone who has a history of abusing children or a history of domestic violence, the court may prohibit the parent from associating with that person during any visitation period.

If there are any costs associated with the period of visitation, such as payment of a person or facility to monitor the parent, the court may stipulate who is responsible for the payment and may split the cost between the parents. If a parent fails to comply with the terms of the restricted visitation, the court may deny future periods of visitation. The court may also determine which parent should bear the costs where there is an allegation that the noncustodial parent has failed to comply with the conditions of visitation.