Common Ground Supervised Access Program
Common Ground is the supervised visitation program overseen by the Domestic Relations Unit of the Greene
County Family Court. Families may be referred to Common Ground if they are experiencing intense conflict as
a result of allegations of child abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, drug use, or criminal activity -
all of which prevent the parties from reaching an agreement regarding custody or visitation of their
child(ren). Common Ground visits can also provide an opportunity for a child to be introduced or
re-introduced to their non-residential parent before moving to unsupervised contact.
The purpose of Common Ground is to provide a safe setting for non-residential parents and their children to establish, maintain, and enhance healthy relationships. The underlying philosophy of Common Ground is that children have a need and a right to healthy relationships with both parents.
Nearly all participants of Common Ground are there by court order.
Supervised Visits are scheduled for a non-residential parent and child(ren) so they may visit with each other in a setting that is closely monitored by a trained observer in a safe and neutral environment for both parent and child(ren).
Visits are $20 per family for a one-hour visit. Typically the cost is split between the parties ($10 each per week), however, the Court may order that one party be responsible for the entire weekly fee.
All visits occur on Tuesday or Thursday evenings between the hours of 5PM and 8PM. Once assigned to a Tuesday or Thursday evening, visits will remain on that same assigned evening and time every week. Attempts are made to accommodate individual schedules, but ultimately parties are expected to attend at available times.
When a Family Court Commissioner signs an Order for Common Ground, the Order is effective for 120 days after the first visit occurs. Common Ground may be terminated earlier than 120 days or extended for a longer period of time, at the discretion of the Judge.
If you have a current pending court case, you will participate in Common Ground via court order.
If Common Ground has been ordered by the court and one or both parents are not cooperating/participating, the court will be informed. Any attorney involved in the case would also be informed.
Without a pending court case and court order, both parents must agree to use Common Ground. Each parent must sign and agree to follow the guidelines of the Common Ground program.
If you are represented by an attorney and are interested in participating, you should discuss this with your attorney who can request that Common Ground be ordered by the Court. Pro Se litigants may also request that Common Ground be ordered by the court.
After Common Ground is ordered by the Court, each participant is required to contact a Common Ground Coordinator to schedule their own intake appointment. During the intake, Common Ground guidelines and procedures will be addressed. After both parties have completed an intake, the visit day and time will be assigned. The visits will be one hour each week.
If you desire to participate in Common Ground but do not have a pending court case or a Common Ground court order, please contact a Common Ground Coordinator. Without a pending court case and court order, both parents must sign and agree to follow the guidelines of the Common Ground program. These cases are treated just like the court ordered cases and are a small minority of the cases that are served through Common Ground.
Common Ground is a safe environment. Residential parents and non-residential parents have staggered arrival and departure times and separate entrances to the facility so they will not see one another. Law enforcement is on-site at all times. Trained monitors are in all visits, ensuring that participants follow the Common Ground guidelines and that the visit proceeds at the pace and comfort level of the child(ren).
If the Springfield Public Schools are closed, then Common Ground is closed. This is true also if the Springfield Public Schools have early dismissal. If you live in a school district other than Springfield and your local pubic schools are closed, please contact the Common Ground Coordinator immediately. If the roads are too bad for you to attend Common Ground, it will be confirmed that your local schools are closed and this will count as an excused absence. If there is snow and/or ice and the local public schools are open, missing your Common Ground visit will be considered an unexcused absence.