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What if my ex-spouse was abusive? Can I prevent visitation?

Even in cases where the other parent of your child committed and/or was convicted of domestic violence, a New Jersey court could still award him or her the right to visit with your children. If you're facing a situation like this, you're probably wondering how to protect your children from the threat of further abuse when you're not around.

Fortunately, you may still be able to protect your children in spite of the court allowing them to spend time with your ex. The key to protecting your children against an abusive parent is to request supervised visitations.

What is supervised visitation?

When the other parent of a child has a history of domestic abuse -- especially in cases where the domestic abuse was against the children -- the spouse with custody can request any visits be conducted in the presence of a court-approved supervisor. These types of visits are referred to as supervised visitation.

During supervised child visitation, the abusive parent will only be permitted to spend time with his or her children while another adult is there. This adult may be a neutral person whom both parents agree to trust. It could also be an employee of the court. At the end of the day, whoever serves as the supervisor must receive approval from the family law court with jurisdiction over the child custody issue.

You can still fight to withdraw the other parent's visitation rights

In cases of an abusive parent, the other parent can still fight to withdraw the other parent's visitation rights. Ultimately, the court will make whatever choice it believes is in the best interest of the child or children involved. Even though many courts view that children benefit from having access to both parents -- even if it's safe and supervised access to an abusive parent -- the non-abusive parent can still try to prevent such visits from taking place.

Are you concerned about the safety of your children?

If you're concerned about the safety of your children with an abusive ex, make sure you fully understand your legal rights and options. You will also want to understand how New Jersey courts make decisions regarding child visitation and the best interests of the children involved.

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