Restrictions on child custody and visitation by a judge in a court order must be accompanied by a description of the steps that a parent can take to reestablish unsupervised custody and visitation. In a recent case captioned Bahls v. Bahls a parent asked for a rehearing on a prior decision that was rendered by the Court. The appellate court granted the motion for a rehearing and reissued a revised opinion. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s judgment because it failed to provide the specific steps required for the parent to end supervised visitation with her child. The trial court heard testimony from many witnesses on the appropriate timesharing arrangements for the parent and the child. The trial court ordered supervised visitation. The court also awarded ultimate parental responsibility to one of the parents. The Court permitted one parent to have most of the timesharing with the child and awarded supervised visitation to the other parent without providing any suggestion as to how unsupervised visitation could take place.
The Court of Appeal held that the lack of specific standards in an order as to how the other parent could eliminate restrictions on a parent’s timesharing was error. This applies to timesharing restrictions as well as the absolute prevention of child custody and visitation. A trial court is required to give a parent an opportunity to reestablish timesharing with his or her child. When a judgment does not set forth the specific steps that a parent can take to reestablish timesharing, it will be reversed. Since the trial court did not state the specific steps that the parent could take or let the parent know what was required of them to reestablish timesharing, the order was reversed.
To speak with a child custody attorney in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.