It is important for readers of this Stockton and San Joaquin County family law blog to remember that no two child custody cases will present the same facts and circumstances. For this reason it is impossible to state exactly why one person receives supervised visitation with his children and another receives unsupervised time; such questions should be directed to an individual's personal attorney for deeper explanation.
However, generally there are several reasons that a parent may be awarded restricted or supervised visitation with his or her kids. One reason may depend upon a parent's criminal history. If a parent has struggled with substance abuse, violence, or other behaviors that may pose threats to his children then he may see his visitation time with his children limited to when a third party may be present.
Additionally a parent may be granted supervised visitation if he and his child or children have been separated for a long period of time. Reintroduction of a parent into a child's life can be difficult to manage and in some cases it serves the best interests of the children to have the visitation and reintroduction process mediated.
Finally a parent may be awarded supervised visitation if there are any fears that the parent may attempt to abduct his or her child during the visitation session. Parental abduction can amount to kidnapping and if a court fears that such drastic actions are possible then the at-risk parent may not be allowed to be alone with his or her offspring.
The reason that a court uses as its basis for granting a parent supervised visitation may be one of those discussed in this post or may fall into a different line of reasoning. Parents should remember that custody and visitation plans can be changed, and if a parent would like to make modifications to the visitation plan he has been awarded he may pursue legal channels with his attorney to make such changes possible.