Illinois Child Visitation Laws | What You Need to Know
By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC
When parents in Illinois divorce, they must make decisions regarding their children. In Illinois, parents have rights and responsibilities when it comes to parenting their children. The law allows for parents to spend time with their child, even if the child lives primarily with the other parent.
Illinois child visitation laws, now known as parenting time, are in place to help ensure that parents have access to their children after a divorce. It is helpful to seek guidance from an experienced Chicago child visitation lawyer to assist you in resolving issues of your divorce, including support and visitation.
Non-Custodial Parental Visitation
Both parents have an equal right to spend time with their children unless a court finds that there are extreme circumstances that won’t allow it. In most cases, the children will reside primarily with one parent, the parent with primary physical custody. The non-custodial parent has a right to visitation (“parenting time”) with the children on a regular basis.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that parents who are not designated as the primary residential parent are entitled to reasonable parenting time with the child. A non-custodial parent is presumed to have visitation rights unless otherwise disallowed through the courts.
Can a Parent Be Denied Visitation?
A parent cannot take it upon him or herself to deny visitation that has been ordered to the other parent. The only way to stop visitation is for the custodial parent to file a legal request. In a situation where a parent is not fit to spend time with a child due to abuse or other factors, the parties must have a court hearing.
The judge will evaluate the details of the case to decide whether a parent should not be allowed visitation or should be allowed only supervised visitation. It is important to note that the courts will always act in the best interest of the child. If the child is in physical or other danger, the court may decide that a parent is not allowed to visit with the child.
In some instances, the court may decide that the child should be allowed to visit with the parent, but only when another person supervises the visit. The court may appoint a particular person as the specified supervisor for visits with the child.
The court order will provide the details of supervised visits and these rules must be followed. If the parent is found to violate the order, they could face severe consequences. Supervised visitation may be part of an order in cases where a parent has problems such as substance abuse issues. The child must never be put into a dangerous situation.
How Often Does a Child Visit with the Non-Residential Parent?
Child visitation frequency varies from family to family. Many factors will help to determine how often and how long visits with the child are to take place. In many families, the non-residential parent will have visitation every other weekend, but this is now considered a bare minimum. You need to work out the details of what works for your family.
A parenting plan is a detailed schedule that provides specific information about how, when, and where visitation is to occur. Parents can work together to come to an agreement regarding the parenting plan before it becomes part of the divorce order. Once in place, changes must be made through the court.
Both parents should be able to spend time with their children following a divorce. It is helpful to seek guidance regarding Illinois child visitation laws during the divorce to resolve any issues that could cause disagreements later. To learn more, contact our Chicago child support lawyers at Gordon & Perlut, LLC, at (312) 360-0250 for a free phone consultation.