Parent Liability for Court-Ordered Visitation
By M. Scott Gordon
Can a parent be held liable for preventing another parent’s court ordered Visitation? Yes. In a recent case (In re Marriage of Knoll) handed down by the Illinois Court of Appeals (1st District), the trial Court found a parent in civil contempt for depriving the other parent of his visitation rights with their child. It was determined that the father was denied his visitation instead of voluntarily electing to forego it, as the mother contended. While the Appeals Court found the civil contempt part of the order to be invalid (it had no “purge” or method for the mother to cure or relieve herself from the contempt), it did find that the trial court properly found that (under Section 607.1 of Dissolution of Marriage Act) the mother had committed visitation abuse for 2 days, and the court properly ordered make-up visitation for periods of time in which husband was unable to exercise his parenting time, which is a remedy expressly authorized by statute. Section 607.1 of the law is a very useful tool to enforce your parenting time.