Robert Withrow
03 May

In Massachusetts, the Probate and Family court can order one parent’s parenting time to be supervised by a third party if there are concerns about the safety or well-being of the children during one parent’s parenting time. This process, while important and often necessary, can be confusing and challenging to navigate for families. Below, we will discuss some of the frequently asked questions when it comes to navigating parenting time in Massachusetts.

1. What Causes Supervised Parenting Time?

This supervision requirement tends to arise in divorce or paternity cases in which there are allegations of behaviors that could impact the welfare of their child(ren), such as:

  • Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Substance abuse
  • Or other issues that pose a threat to the welfare of the child

2. How do the Courts Assess Whether Supervised Parenting Time is Needed?
Whether or not a parent’s parenting time with the children needs to be supervised requires a fact-specific analysis, in which the Court assesses the specific circumstances of the case and the best interests of the children involved. The Court can order that the parenting time be supervised by a friend or family member as agreed by the parties, or by a professional supervisor. If there are concerns about a parent's ability to safely interact with their children, such as a history of violence, substance abuse problems, or mental health issues, a professional supervisor may be required to ensure the visits are conducted in a safe and appropriate manner.

3. Who Supervises These Visits?
When it comes to who will supervise visitation time, the supervisors are often social workers, therapists, or other professionals with experience in child welfare and family dynamics who are trained and qualified to oversee visitation between parents and children. Their role is to observe and facilitate interactions between the parent and child, ensuring that the visitation is conducted in a manner that prioritizes the child's safety and well-being. An additional benefit of utilizing a professional supervisor is that they are a neutral third party who will take notes regarding the parenting time and can be available to testify in court if necessary.

If you are unsure whether you need a professional supervisor to visit your children in Massachusetts, contact us at or give us a call at (781) 381-5287 to consult with a family law attorney who can advise you based on the specifics of your situation to help you determine the best course of action for you and your children.