Indiana family courts preserve the rights of parents to have a relationship with their children unless that relationship endangers the child’s welfare. In some cases, the state may order supervised parenting time between the child and parent.

Learn more about how supervised visitation works and when Indiana courts may order this arrangement.

When will the court order supervised visitation?

Indiana law requires judges to make the custody decision that serves the child’s best interests while retaining parental rights. When a child is not safe with a parent because of anger management problems, substance abuse or other issues, the court can order supervised visitation to maintain the parental relationship while protecting the child’s welfare. Indiana courts must always supervise parenting time with a parent who has committed child exploitation or molestation within the past five years.

If the court orders supervised visitation, the parent can petition the court for unsupervised visitation or custody if circumstances change. For example, if the parent completes a substance use disorder treatment program and maintains sobriety for several months, he or she can ask for custody modification. The parent must provide proof that a change in the visitation arrangement serves the child’s best interests.

Who supervises parenting time?

The judge in the custody case will order a representative from a private agency, the court staff or a public social service agency to supervise parenting time as appropriate. The custodial parent can also agree to supervision of the other parent during visits by a family member, such as the child’s grandparent or aunt. The court can also decide where supervised parenting time occurs. Often, the judge requires these visits to take place in a neutral location.

When a parent fears for the child’s health and safety when the child is with the other parent, he or she can present evidence to the court showing the potential danger. The court will review the facts in the case to determine if supervised visitation is appropriate.