How do supervised visits work?
There are various reasons why a parent with visitation rights (often the father) is only allowed to see their own child in the presence of a professionally qualified, neutral person.
Alexandra Raninger does supervised visits, among other things. She explains that “the parent in question needs to proactively take charge of this form of contact. The court will then examine the case and determine that the father can see the child for two hours every two weeks.” There is an initial discussion with all of the parties – mother, father and children – in advance. The meeting itself then takes place in a separate, neutral place.
“The challenge is winning the trust of the children, who often have to take part in these meetings against their own wishes until they turn 14.” The counselor says the parents or grandparents themselves are often very well behaved at supervised appointments because they know that the person supervising the visit has to prepare a report. After a few sessions it is often possible to meet the children alone. “Unfortunately, though, some situations come back to us because new incidents occur,” says Raninger, regretfully.
She recommends that all parents learn to be parents together for their whole lives and not to put their conflict onto their children. There are also costs associated with supervised visits, which can be EUR 45 per hour plus potentially travel costs. Payment of these costs must be clarified before the start of the supervised visits. Low-income families can contact a counseling center funded by the Ministry for Social Affairs, which can cover the costs. More information on this can be found in the link at the end.
If you need a supervised visit and require help and advice on this, you can contact a suitable Austrian family counseling center for a free discussion.
Our interview partner
Alexandra Raninger is a qualified lawyer, mediator, life counselor and social counselor. In addition to her counseling work, she is also the managing director of Nora, a counseling center for women and families in Upper Austria.
The interview was conducted in September 2021.