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Naperville child custody lawyerThere is little question about the difficulty of parenting after a divorce, separation, or break-up. If you have been given significantly less parenting time than your child’s other parent, maintaining a meaningful relationship with your child can be even more challenging. But, what happens if the other parent convinces the court to restrict or limit your parenting time even further? An experienced family law attorney can help you understand what options you may have and work with you in taking the steps to restore your parental rights.

Grounds for the Restriction of Parenting Time

The governing principle of Illinois family law regarding children and parenting responsibilities is always to serve the child’s best interests. In doing so, the court begins with the presumption that active participation by both parents is best for the child, and, therefore, will allocate parenting time to each parent based on the family’s circumstances. Your parenting time cannot be restricted unless the other parent can show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that your behavior or lifestyle seriously endangers your child. These dangers can be to child’s mental, moral, or physical health, as well as to his or her emotional development.

Types of Restrictions

In the most extreme situations, your right to parenting time may be suspended completely, but the court will usually try to avoid taking such measures. Instead, your time with your child may be reduced or limited to certain physical locations. Additionally, the court could determine that you may only exercise your parenting time under supervision by the other parent or a third party. Other restrictions may include keeping certain people away from your child, required abstinence from drugs or alcohol immediately prior to and during your parenting time, and any other limitations the court finds to be appropriate.

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Naperville family law attorneysIllinois law tries, whenever possible, to allow both parents to have parenting time—also called visitation—with their children. However, sometimes that is difficult to manage due to one or both parents’ having issues that would make it unsafe for them to be around their children alone. The answer to this problem is to have supervised or restricted visitation, and to see how a parent fares before permitting him or her to engage in unsupervised visitation.

General Parenting Time Guidelines

A standard visitation agreement is often rather vague, allowing the parents themselves to regulate the terms of the visits. The parent with fewer parental responsibilities entitled, as a general rule, to parenting time unless a court disagrees, and in many instances, the parents are able to work out a schedule that suits all involved. However, if one parent has issues, the court may take action.

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Posted on in Visitation

DuPage County visitation lawyersIn Illinois, only parents are entitled to visitation rights with their children. However, in certain situations, non-parent relatives such as grandparents, great-grandparents or siblings may petition for visitation rights. Whether or not they will be granted depends on the facts of the case, but the law does allow for such considerations in certain situation.

Statutory Authority

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act grants parents the right to visitation—now known as parenting time—with their children. This right is generally upheld in all but the most extreme circumstances. Illinois courts tend to be of the opinion that children are best served by having both parents in their lives and have expressed this belief even in cases where one or both parents are incarcerated or profoundly mentally ill. The only criteria the court uses to deny parenting time is if it finds that spending time with a particular parent would endanger the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health.

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