Although the court strives to give every divorcing parent custodial time with his or her children, this is not always feasible. In cases where this cannot be achieved, the noncustodial parent is usually granted visitation rights with his or her children. Visitation rights are court-ordered visits between a parent and child that are meant to maintain the bond between the parent and the child.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act covers visitation rights in section 607. The act discusses the factors that determine whether or not a parent has this right and, if so, how the court decides to set up these visits. If you are a divorcing or otherwise unmarried parent, talk to your attorney about custody and visitation rights to learn more about your rights and obligations as a parent.
Why Would a Parent Lose Visitation Rights?
In almost every case, a noncustodial parent who does not have any court-ordered custodial time with his or her children has visitation rights with them. However, there are certain circumstances where this right can be revoked. These circumstances are as follows:
- If the parent is currently suffering from a substance addiction;
- If the parent has a history of harming the child sexually, physically, emotionally, or psychologically; or
- If the parent has any history of violently harming children.
If the parent has committed an especially egregious crime and can not be trusted with his or her child, the court may prohibit him or her from spending time with the child at all.
Do Other Relatives Have Visitation Rights?
Usually, no. The right to visit with a child is generally reserved for the child’s parents. However, a grandparent or other relative may be granted visitation rights in certain circumstances.
Under the following circumstances, a child’s non-parent relative may file a petition with the court to receive visitation rights to the child:
- If the child’s parents are not living together;
- If one of the child’s parents is no longer living; or
- If one of the child’s parents has been missing for three months or longer.
When a parent is granted visitation rights to his or her child, the court has certain requirements that he or she must follow to maintain this right. These requirements are designed to protect the child. Some of the common restrictions the court may place on a parent are as follows:
- Prohibiting the parent from using drugs or alcohol during visits;
- Requiring that the visits occur at the custodial parent’s home;
- Requiring that the visits occur outside of the noncustodial parent’s home;
- Requiring that the visits be supervised by a third party; and
- Prohibiting overnight visits between the parent and child.
Divorce Attorneys in DuPage County
Contact the Abear Law Office to discuss your custody and visitation concerns with an experienced Wheaton family attorney. Our team of attorneys is here to advocate for you and your family and help you maintain your relationships with your children.