-


Supporting Families as a part of the solution.

Kids and Families Matter Program for supervised Time Sharing and Monitored Exchanges


Tips for Non-Custodial and Custodial Parents

Tips for the Non-Custodial Parent/Family Member
Being with your child in the presence of someone else may be uncomfortable for you, at least in the beginning. You probably have many questions and concerns, and that is perfectly understandable. During tough times you may want to talk to a mental health professional or find a support group to help you with your feelings. Do your best to focus on your relationship with your child. Your patience and commitment will pay off. Here are some suggestions that might be helpful to you:

  • Read the court order
  • Arrive and depart on time
  • Follow the visitation rules
  • Bring a favorite game or snack with you to the visit.  If it is dinner time, speak with the Monitor prior to the visit about who will be providing dinner for your child that night, you or the custodial parent.
  • Start the visit with a smile and let your child know you are happy to see them.
  • It is ok and natural for you or your child to feel emotional.  If you both are feeling emotional for an extended length of time, try to begin conversation about something happy and help your child move through the emotion to enjoy your visit.
  • Be prepared for your child to be shy or to be over talkative at the beginning of the visit.  They may have lots of questions for you.  The monitor will try to be supportive of you and help you if the questions are about something that you have been asked not to discuss.
  • Stay calm and try to listen to what your child is saying, and act interested. 
  • If your child is quiet, if you ask about their friends, or pets, or what happened at school that day can help to start a conversation.
  • Try to validate your child's feelings when possible, letting them know that it is normal and ok to feel" "sad," confused," or "angry."
  • Avoid discussing the court case or terms of the visit with your child.  If they ask a question, let them know that you have been asked not to talk about court, and that you want them "to not worry," that you "love them" and that you are" working on getting things worked out in court."
  • If asked, let your child know that you will make sure they know what has been decided by the Judge as soon as you are able to.
  • Avoid quizzing your child about the other parent's activities and relationships.
  • Do not ask your child specifics about activities, such as locations or times.
  • Avoid making your child a messenger to the other party.
  • Say brief and positive good-byes to your child when the visit is over. 
  • If you have any questions about your visitation or rules of the program, discuss your questions and concerns with the Visitation Monitor when your child is not present.
  • After your child has left, ask your visitation monitor for help or suggestions to help you and your child in your future visits.
  • No notes of any kind can be passed to the other parent during a visit.    
  • No gifts allowed without prior approval, and all gifts must be unwrapped.
  • No unauthorized visitors allowed onsite or in visit.

 
Tips for the Custodial Parent/Guardian
Supervised visitation can also be a challenge for you. Typically you have been taking care of your child's everyday needs and have a routine for yourself and your family. Supervised visitation can sometimes feel like one more responsibility. Of course, you also have concerns and questions about the visits and how they will affect your child. This is understandable.  In difficult times you may also want to talk to a mental health professional or find a support group where you can talk about your feelings. Here are a few suggestions that might help you in the process:

  • Read the court order
  • Explain to your child where and when the visits will take place
  • Have your child ready on time and be prompt.
  • Reassure your child that you support him or her in having a pleasant visit
  • Avoid quizzing your child about the visit
  • Avoid making your child a messenger to the other party
  • If the visit takes place during your child's normal dinner time, discuss with the monitor who will be providing dinner for your child.  It is recommended that if your child will be eating dinner late, that a snack be brought in for your child to have during the visit.
  • If your child has specific health needs, please let the monitor know prior to the visit.
  • Please let the visitation monitor know about any concerns about the visit that child has expressed.     
  • Please let the visitation monitor know about any concerns that you have concerning the visit
  • Please let the visitation monitor know about any behaviors you are concerned about that the child has exhibited before or after visits.  
  • No notes of any kind can be passed to the other parent during a visit.                 


What Both Parents Need to Know
If you need to change the Court shared parenting time schedule, the provider cannot do that for you. To assist you in filing the proper paperwork, contact your attorney or the Family Law Facilitator.  Please ask your visitation monitor for referrals.

If you cannot agree on how to modify the court's order, and you are both willing to meet with a Court Mediator to assist you in reaching an agreement that can then be filed in court and become an order, call your attorney or your Family Court Services office to schedule Mediation. Please ask your visitation monitor for referrals.

Supervised Shared Parenting Time and Monitored Exchanges can be difficult and uncomfortable at times. Often there are hurt and angry feelings toward the other parent, and it seems impossible to have a positive attitude about this process which is difficult for all parties, including the children.

Remember that both of you care about your children, and that, if possible, children benefit from having two parents in their lives.




Kids and Families Matter:

Supporting Families as a part of the solution.