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Geneva family law attorneyParenting time (visitation) can be a sensitive topic in a divorce, since both parents typically want to spend the most time that they can with their child. However, the court determines what is in the best interest of the child when making decisions during the divorce proceedings. In some cases, one parent may have a history of drug or alcohol addiction or domestic abuse. This could impact his or her allocation of parental responsibilities, as well as parenting time. Illinois law gives the court permission to restrict parenting time as much as necessary in order to protect a minor child, including requiring all visits to be supervised. If supervised visitation is considered necessary, the court will order it and it will be part of the parenting plan. 

What Does Supervision Look Like?

Supervision is defined as “the presence of a third party during a parent’s exercise of parenting time.” Supervision may be ordered by the court if there is enough evidence that proves a parent engaged in conduct that endangered the child’s mental or physical health, or that impaired the child’s emotional development. These orders are meant to protect the child and may include any of the following requirements:

  • A modification or elimination of the parent’s decision-making responsibilities and/or parenting time
  • Supervision by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) 
  • Having an intermediary present during the exchange between parent and child, or taking place in a protected setting
  • Restricting a parent’s communication with or proximity to the other parent or the child
  • Ordering a parent to refrain from possessing or consuming alcohol or drugs during (or right before) parenting time with the child
  • Restricting the presence of certain persons when a parent is spending time with the child
  • Posting a bond to secure the return of the child following the parent’s visit 
  • Completing a treatment program for abuse or for any other behavior that is detrimental to the child

The “supervisor” can be a trained therapist, social worker, or even a relative or friend. Even if the parents agree on a supervisor, the court must approve the nominee. When considering who should be a supervisor, it is important to note that professionals typically cost money, and friends and family members do not.

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