What is supervised contact? Whether you have concerns about overnight visitations or are wondering picks the location and time, our family lawyers answer all your questions.

The rights of parents to see their children during divorce proceedings, and in the periods that follow, is a contentious area of family law. As a result, The Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) attempts to simplify the process. It does so by providing children with the right to have contact with both their parents or other significant people in their lives on a regular basis. Above all, this right is contingent upon this contact being within the child’s best interests. 

So what counts as a “best interest” when determining the right to supervised contact?

Supervised contact is a mechanism that allows children to spend time with a parent in circumstances in which the other parent may be concerned or the children may be at risk with that parent. For example, a father who may have a short temper. Or a mother who has a gambling problem. Therefor, there are a variety of reasons in which it may be more appropriate, including: 

  1. a risk of violence or abuse to the child;
  2. a history of neglect;
  3. allegations or a real risk of parental kidnapping or abduction;
  4. a parent has serious drug or alcohol problems;
  5. a parent has spent a significant amount of time away from the child and wants to restart their relationship; and
  6. a parent poses harm to the child through mental illness or suicide.

Is there a way to access supervised contact, if you don’t pass the best interests test? 

However, there are a number of ways to make supervised contact safer. For instance, these include:
  1. Using an independent service or person. For instance, at a contact centre, in which the child is in a safe and controlled environment and can spend time with the parent or similarly staying at the place of residence of a mutual friend
  2. A supervisor being present at the changeover to ensure the child and parents are safe during this time; or 
  3. If both parents can agree, meetings can occur through a mutual friend or relative who can supervise the contact. 
It is worth noting that the role of a supervisor or mutual friend is not to offer support, make suggestions or intervene in parenting. That is unless the parent is harming the child or putting them at risk. In other words, there role is truly neutral.

Some other FAQs about supervised contact.

Clients frequently ask our family lawyers a range of questions about supervised contact. For this reason, we have shared the most common ones below.Firstly, why should I even agree to supervised contact if my ex doesn’t deserve it?Secondly, who picks the location and time?Thirdly, does supervised contact extend to overnight stays?
New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out the answers to these, ask us in confidence

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