Illinois law presumes children’s best interests are fostered by ongoing relationships with both parents. This means that reasonable Visitation or Parenting Time is a “right” of the non-custodial parent, not a “privilege.”
As a right, the non-custodial parent cannot be denied visitation without a full court hearing. Only in extreme circumstances (such as when visitation would seriously endanger the children) will a parent be permanently denied visitation.
Custodial parents do not have the right to withhold visitation for the non-payment of Child Support. In fact, such withholding is “unlawful visitation interference.”
While a non-custodial parent has a right to visitation, Illinois law does not compel or force that parent to exercise his or her visitation rights. Illinois law also permits certain other relatives (such as siblings, stepparents and grandparents) to seek visitation, but visitation by such persons is a “privilege” and not a “right.” Such persons must petition the Court, which petition may be opposed by the custodial parent.
While non-custodial parents have the right to reasonable visitation, the Court can place restrictions on visitation if there is a concern about the children being endangered. Visitation restrictions come in the form of limited visitation (such as denying overnight visitation for infants and toddlers), or requiring supervised visitation when the non-custodial parent’s unsupervised visitation could seriously endanger the children’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.
When a threat of verbal or physical abuse exists, visitation exchanges should be done in Public or Neutral Sites. Some counties have designated places for such exchanges. Alternative neutral places include restaurants, malls or local police departments.
Illinois does not have statutory guidelines for visitation schedules, other than requiring that visitation be reasonable. Typical visitation schedules include alternating weekends, one or two nights during the week, and alternating holidays.
There are many variables in determining a reasonable visitation schedule, including the proximity of the parents’ residences, the parents’ work schedules, the children’s school and extracurricular activities, and the children’s ages. As the children grow older, more frequent and longer visitation schedules are typical. Visitation schedules also typically vary during the summer months, and generally allow for both parents to have planned vacation time with the children.
Being a non-custodial parent does not change the fact that you are the children’s parent. If needed, we will aggressively fight to protect your rights to spend time with your children. If you are a grandparent and want to seek visitation, we can properly present your case to the Court. We represent clients in the Rockford and surrounding community with all aspects of child custody matters. If you would like to find out more about child custody, we have provided information on our website which can be seen at the following links: