Why were you court ordered to be supervised by a monitor?
Welcome to the REVIEW MONITOR category of our website. Why are you here? Is it because the custodial parent (CP) was able to convince the judge that you are a violent person and may cause harm to your children while they are in your care? Or is it because it is you who does not feel comfortable with your kids since they were coached by the CP not to eat or drink and run away from you during your visits? Better yet, maybe as a result of a heavy dose of parent alienation from the CP, they approach total strangers complaining in desperation and tears that you are abusing them and cause the latter to call the police on you? Well, this was my life during visits with my kids. I’m sure you have your own story to tell. Please, let us know what it is and will post it on our website.
Why are monitors important?
The subject of Supervised Visitation Monitors (SVM) is an important one because it can make or break your chances for custody or visitations, if the judge that presides over your case pays heed to SVM’s reports or testimony. And they quite often do. There are different naming conventions for SVMs varying from state to state. We are using the terminology used in California. In other states they may be called parenting coordinators or facilitators. Technically they serve one purpose which is to supervise the non-custodial parent (NCP) during visits with children. However, monitoring high conflict cases that involve PAS is different. If SVMs really care about what they do and know their job, they can positively contribute by making valuable suggestions on how to defuse difficult situations between the NCP and alienated.
Monitors are not required to be degreed, licensed, bonded or insured.
In most states SVMs are not required to be licensed and degreed. They are not even required to have liability insurance as every legitimate business should in most states. They must have a clean driving and criminal record and could not have been monitored themselves in the past. Therefore, practically anyone can become a monitor. And they do. The majority of SVMs take up monitoring to supplement their income.
Monitors should have a business car insurance policy when driving you and/or your children during your visits.
When SVM's policy is to drive your children during visits, they must have their vehicles registered and insured as business property. Most do not because it's more expensive.
Monitor must provide information for a 1099 form if you paid more then $600 for his/her services during a tax year.
Make sure that you give your monitor a 1099 form at the end of the year to report him/her on your income taxes as required by law. My monitor refused to provide information for 1099 so that I can properly claim her on my income taxes. She always stressed to make my payments in cash.
Monitors claim they know how to handle high conflict cases but they often don't.
The problem with monitors is that very few know and understand what Parent Alienation or other high conflict issues are; therefore, they cannot effectively interpret certain behavioral traits during visits when, for instance, children are being rejecting and belligerent toward the NCP. SVM can misinterpret such conduct as the result of NCP’s past abusive practices. This is why before or during intake interviews it is crucial to discuss in detail what the issues are in your high conflict case and determine what SVM's qualifications are to handle such issues.
Get familiar with Court Standards.
Every state has its own standards for SVMs and, as we our information base grows, those standards will be captured here. For now, we will be concentrating on California. Remember, make it your business to understand what California Rules of Court Standard 5.20 of Family Code Section 3200 Uniform standards of practice for providers of supervised visitation are all about. Check them out out on our page here: http://custodyplayers.com/category-purpose/72/purpose-id/23
Monitors conduct business in different ways.
SVMs have different policies for running their business. Some do not want to be driven, some don’t mind. Others insist on doing the driving. Better make sure they have a clean driving record and a good insurance policy. Also, SVM should provide references. Most divorce and separation cases are public unless they involve paternity. Names and addresses of clients can be disclosed.
Monitors do not publish their addresses.
Another thing I find questionable is most of the SVMs do not publish their addresses. Some claim it’s for safety reasons. But what if you want to subpoena or sue your monitor? How would you serve them if they don't provide addresses?
Here are some pointers when dealing with monitors:
1. Monitors are obligated to record whatever happens during visits and send those reports to both parties' attorneys or pro-pers and the court. Most charge to write these reports. I have seen rates around $75 per report.
2. Monitors are supposed to be impartial and unbiased.
3. When interviewing a monitor in high conflict cases make sure that he/she has experience dealing with cases of this nature, especially if they involve PAS, or any other form of abuse.
4. There is no confidentiality between both sets of parents and a monitor; therefore, they may disclose whatever they want to either party. They will interpret things their own way and may choose to omit important details that you may think are crucial for your case.
5. If a monitor is biased and named in a court order, he/she can make your custody situation very challenging by falsifying (interpreting their way) facts on report to court. Also, they can raise their rates at whim and you will have to comply or go before the judge who may or may not grant you a new monitor.
6. Many litigants subpoena monitors to testify in court where they may question a monitor if what the latter reported to court was objectionable.
7. There is no government body that can impose sanctions on monitors so they can do whatever they want. Perhaps a judge could impose fines. I have never heard of such a case. You need to do your own research on this. But you can sue them.
8. Keep in mind that during monitored visits in high conflict cases involving PAS, alienating parent will always coach kids to make it look as if they are in constant distress and fear of the alienated parent. The target parent is always the bad guy. This is why in situations like this your monitor needs to know about PAS and react accordingly.
9. Remember that you are entitled to have a monitor that speaks your native language. Your kids may be more sensitive to it and will relate to you better during our visits with them.
Monitors that care and know what they are doing can contribute to successful visits.
In cases where evidence of violence or child abuse has been established, SVMs provide valuable service by observing and stopping any abuse against kids during visits by closely monitoring the NCP. Monitors can call the police and interrupt visits anytime they feels that kids are not comfortable or safe.
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