Visitation Rights & Regulations in Illinois
We Serve Clients in St. Charles & West Dundee
After a divorce, it is common for one parent to get sole physical custody of the child, while the other gets regular visitation rights. Here at the Law Offices of Benedict Schwartz, II P.C., we are devoted to helping individuals find solutions to their various family law matters. We recognize that issues involving children are especially sensitive, and give every client the amount of individualized attention and compassionate service they deserve.
The noncustodial parent has the right to reasonable visitation with the children. What is considered to be reasonable depends upon the specific circumstances of the situation. The custodial parent may be able to get the other parent's visitation rights restricted if they are able to show that it is necessary for the child's well-being. Even in instances where there is a history of serious abuse, the court will still likely allow for some visitation, although it will probably involve supervision or other restrictions to ensure the child's safety.
The Child's Best Interest Always Comes First
Visitation is meant for the children, not the parents. No matter what the situation entails, the child's best interest will always be the primary focus. Generally, the court will start with the assumption that what is in the child's best interests is having a healthy and close relationship with both parents. In Illinois, the court can restrict the noncustodial parent's visitation rights only if the court finds—after a hearing—that visitation would put the child's physical, mental or emotional well-being in serious danger.
In this situation, the custodial parent must be able to prove to the court that the child's health will be put in danger if the proposed visitation is granted. Reasoning such as the custodial parent does not like the behavior of the noncustodial parent is not good enough to forbid the noncustodial parent visitation. Only extreme circumstances can justify why a parent would be permanently denied visitation. For example, substance abuse or mental illness by themselves are not reason enough to restrict visitation.
Ways the Court Can Restrict Visitation
If the court does decide that visitation must be restricted, the restriction will be tailored to fit what the particular problem is.
Some ways that the court may restrict visitation include:
- Prohibiting overnight visits
- Requiring visits to only occur in the custodial parent's home
- Prohibiting a parent from contacting the child while the parent is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Requiring visits only happen outside the noncustodial parent's home
- Requiring visits to be supervised by a third party
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Grandparents, siblings, or other family members beside the parents do not have a legal right to visitation. Under certain circumstances though, a family member that has been denied reasonable visitation may file a request with the court asking for a visitation order. If the court determines that visitation is in the best interest of the child, they will issue a visitation order.
Establishing visitation can be a difficult process to work through—especially if the two parties are not able to amicably come up with an agreement. Our West Dundee divorce lawyers have more than 40 years of experience, and are prepared to assist you in whatever way we can. To schedule your free initial consultation, be sure to give our firm a call today!