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When Can You Deny Visitation to the Non-Custodial Parent in Illinois?

A custodial parent in Chicago, Illinois, can deny visitation to the non-custodial parent if a court order has given the parent permission to do so or if the child would be in immediate danger. If the latter situation occurs and you are the custodial parent, it is essential to contact your attorney as soon as possible. A common move is to file for a modification of custody to address these safety concerns.

Reasons a Parent’s Visitation Rights Can Be Restricted

A parenting plan outlines parents’ approach to raising their children, whether they strive for co-parenting, parallel parenting, or another method. The plans cover holiday time, school schedules, extracurriculars, visitation, and more.

The reasons that one parent can limit the other’s visitation rights contrary to the parenting plan are extremely limited. They cover serious situations that would place the child in immediate jeopardy. Of course, if a court order denying visitation is already in place, that in itself is reasonable grounds for the parent to enforce the order and deny visitation.

Physical or sexual abuse are examples of situations in which one parent could reasonably try to restrict the other parent’s visitation rights. Another could be if the noncustodial parent shows up obviously drunk and is planning on driving the child. A child custody lawyer can be essential if you’re a custodial parent navigating the process of visitation denials, no matter the reason.

Lawyers let you know if your concern about, for example, possible abuse or improper weapons storage is sufficient to deny court-ordered visitation at the next scheduled time. It is never a light matter to step outside the boundaries of a court order, and you need to move quickly to present your concerns to the court and modify custody once you develop safety concerns. Otherwise, the noncustodial parent might claim parental alienation is occurring, or you could be held in contempt of court.

Many times, even in serious situations, a court does not outright deny or stop visitation. Rather, the court orders supervised visitations or places other restrictions, such as no overnight visits.

Reasons a Parent’s Visitation Rights Cannot Be Restricted in Chicago

The visitation laws in Illinois strive to give both parents as much time as possible with their children, as long as the time does not jeopardize the child’s well-being. Consequently, if the parents differ on how flexible or strict they are on issues such as bedtime, junk food, or access to electronic devices, these disagreements are unlikely to result in any visitation restrictions. The custodial parent may prefer that a child goes to bed at 8:30 p.m. instead of 10:30 p.m., but it is rarely (if ever) a reason to unilaterally deny visitation. Your lawyer can clarify the issues.

Parents also cannot deny visitation for missed child support. Under the visitation laws in Illinois, child support and visitation are two separate issues.

The custodial parent needs to let his or her lawyer, Illinois Child Support Services, or the court know about the nonpayment of child support. From there, depending on the circumstances, wage garnishment (income withholding), a driver’s license suspension, passport denial, or property liens may be used to try to get the other parent to pay. There are many other methods, too.

At What Age Can a Child Refuse Visitation in Illinois?

Technically speaking, there is no age at which a child in Chicago can refuse to see his or her parent. Practically speaking, it is more difficult to force teenagers to do visitations than it is to coax toddlers into visits.

Children who refuse visitations will not be penalized, but the custodial parent could be. This is especially true if the other parent can show that the custodial parent has actively discouraged visitation. Parents should encourage and facilitate visitations to reasonable extents.

Children and teenagers may refuse visits for many reasons that do not put them in immediate danger, for example, the other parent failing to show up many times or dislike of a new stepparent or dating partner. Even in these situations, custodial parents should not actively discourage visits. They should not “bad-mouth” noncustodial parents.

Custodial parents often walk delicate lines between validating their children’s feelings, dealing with their own anger or frustration at the noncustodial parent, and still trying to leave room for a good relationship between the child and noncustodial parent in the future.

What Are the Rights of the Noncustodial Parent in Illinois?

Noncustodial parents in Illinois generally have the right to spend a reasonable amount of time with their children. This right continues as long as there is no threat to the child’s well-being, safety, or stability. The definition of “reasonable” does vary, so parents should consider their unique circumstances and the child’s age when setting up parenting time and visitation schedules.

The minimum default for noncustodial parents tends to be one weeknight per week, overnight stays every other weekend, and a long summer visit (with perhaps holidays in the mix somehow). Much can depend on where the parents and children live, of course. For example, if the custodial parent and child move across the country, the parent in Illinois might ask for extended but less frequent visits.

Noncustodial parents may still retain visitation rights in some form, even if the court suspects abuse or that the child is in danger. In these cases, visits are likely to be supervised and greatly restricted until or if the parent can address the safety concerns.

The bottom line is that a noncustodial parent generally has the right to visit his or her child as outlined in a court order. The other parent cannot just decide not to allow visitation unless there are reasonable safety concerns or the situation is an emergency. If you’re a noncustodial parent and the other parent is unreasonably preventing visits, your lawyer should be able to help.

Hardworking business accountant, checking the company budget. Concept of deny visitation to the non-custodial parent

He helps clients resolve issues relating to family law, including divorce, parenting time and parental responsibilities, paternity, and child support. As a skilled real estate attorney as well, Scott also provides advice and legal representation to clients who are purchasing or selling residential or commercial property in Illinois. 

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