Q: I am acting as supervisor for visitation between my former son-in-law and my grandson. Questions re location of visit.
I live in Colorado, and so far, the visitations have been in the father's home. My question is, does Colorado law prohibit such visitations from including outings to local places? I would even be the driver of the vehicle, if that is required.
A: The court order is what governs supervised parenting time rather than Colorado law.
First, thank you for providing this very helpful service. It is beneficial to your grandson to have these visits with family present rather than in a professional facility with a stranger. There are also, sadly, far more parents who are required to have supervised visitation for a period of time than there are available professional supervisors.
Colorado law in regard to supervised visitation is controlled almost exclusively by the orders in the particular case, so it really isn't possible to give you a definitive answer.
Supervised visitation always means that the supervisor stays within ear shot and line of sight of the child and the parent being supervised. Therefore, if the visitations are allowed to occur at a location other than that parent's house, the supervisor must provide the child's transportation to and from the location of the visit.
As for whether you are allowed to have the visitation at some other location, that depends entirely on the way the order is written. Sometimes the orders are written to permit the parent and supervisor to agree to locations and sometimes the court must approve any change in location.
If this is through a dependency and neglect case, you should be able to ask the case worker about it. In those cases, the Department often has some ability to approve a change in location. Also, in that type of case, you want to be sure the case worker knows where the visits are occurring if you are allowed to change the location. You must keep the case worker informed about visits.
If this is through a divorce or custody action, then the orders are your primary guide. If the other parent has an attorney, you might be able to get some guidance from them as to whether you are limited in location. In this type of case, generally if the other side will agree to a different location, then the court is fine with it as long as you are still supervising all contact. For your own protection, I would try to be sure that the attorney puts it into writing, even if only an email. Also, if they agree only to a specific location, don't presume that means you can visit any other location. If you don't like the attorney's answer, the parent you are supervising can file a motion asking the court for permission to have visits at different locations. If your order requires a specific location, you can't change locations without an agreement from the other party or until the court enters an order allowing it.
If you are an intervenor into the case, then you can file a motion yourself. If you are not an intervenor, it would be good to explore whether it would be beneficial to become an intervenor.
You should contact an experienced family law attorney who can help you look over the order providing for supervised visitation. They can help you determine the kind of case if you're uncertain, as well as help you determine whether the order limits the location or not. They can also help you determine whether there would be any benefit to seeking to be an intervenor in the case. They can also help you determine your next best step.
John Hyland Barrett III agrees with this answer
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