How Do Visitation Rights Work?

Child custody and visitation arrangements can be complex in the best of circumstances, especially if you do not understand the new dynamics of your family structure. Whether you have agreed to this arrangement, or a court has ordered it, it is important to understand how visitation works.

Visitation in Illinois

Under Illinois law, a parent who does not have custody of his or her child is entitled to reasonable visitation rights. Courts generally prefer that a child have at least some contact with both parents, and should not restrict the parent’s visitation rights unless the court finds that the visitation would pose a danger to the child.

That does not mean that the right to visitation is unlimited – it must be reasonable.

Reasonable visitation can work a number of different ways depending on the child and the circumstances. It can include supervision, which can be done at a supervised visitation center by professionals or in a private setting by a designated person (such as a grandparent). If there is a concern about the safety of the parent with custody, the parents may meet to pick up or drop off the child at a public place. If the court is concerned about the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health, it may deny visitation to the parent without custody.

Parents are not the only family members that may be granted visitation rights. Grandparents, great-grandparents, and siblings of a child may also be granted visitation under certain circumstances.

What If I Want to Change My Visitation Arrangement?

If circumstances change, and a parent wants to change their visitation agreement, he or she can file a motion for modification. The court will make a decision about whether to change, or revoke, visitation rights based on the best interests of the child standard. The best interests of the child standard is the same one used to determine child custody; modifications to visitation are determined by looking at all relevant circumstances.

What If the Parent Is Interfering with Visitation or My Child Won’t Go to Visitation?

If a parent is having difficulty enforcing their visitation agreement, there are several avenues by which they can attempt to remedy the situation. The court may order modification of the visitation order, supervised visitation, make-up visitation, or counseling and mediation. Aside from going before the court, parents can work with their attorneys to come to new agreements that could include new terms for visitation or even counseling for the child alone or the child and non-custodial parent.

It is important for parents to abide by the terms of a visitation agreement. Violation of the agreement may result in suspension of the parent’s Illinois driver’s license, probation, and possible imprisonment.

Call Our Office Today

When you have questions about your visitation arrangement, it is always advisable to seek legal advice from an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Contact Abear Law Offices today. We are ready to help you.