When parents divorce, child visitation and custody can be a major point of contention between them. While it’s best for divorcing parents to work together to devise visitation arrangements that are convenient for both parents and in their child’s best interests, parents don’t always agree on the best way to do so.
Disagreements can degenerate into major battles that are harmful to all parties involved. To help prevent problems when making important decisions concerning child visitation and custody, it makes sense to have guidance from an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney.
The seasoned Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe and Stec, Ltd. have extensive experience assisting families in developing child custody and visitation arrangements. We understand that these issues can be difficult for parents and children, so we focus on providing solid and compassionate legal services throughout the process.
When you choose us, you will find that our family lawyers are special. We will:
Do not delay! Call us today for a case consultation at 630-305-0222.
If you are looking for a child visitation defense lawyer in the local area, there are several reasons why you should work with us.
It would be our honor to represent you, so do not hesitate to reach out to us to schedule an initial case consultation. Remember that these initial consultations are free.
If you partner with our team, there are plenty of ways that we can help you. Some of the ways our child visitation attorneys can assist you include:
When there is a child visitation situation, we need to collect as much evidence as possible to support your case. This could be communications between you and other parties, your child’s medical records, academic records, and anything else supporting your point of view.
A lawyer for child visitation from our team can also file discovery motions. There is a chance that the other party may have evidence we can use, and we need to make sure that we see everything they could use in court.
You need someone who can negotiate with the other party from an objective point of view, using the law as a source of support. We can negotiate with the court system, opposing counsel, and anyone else who might be involved to ensure we put you in the best position possible for success.
Sometimes, the lawyer has to draw up an agreement from scratch. We can use our knowledge, experience, and your best interests to craft an agreement that we feel is favorable to you. We understand what different child custody arrangements and child visitation agreements look like, and we can keep you involved as we draft yours.
We will act as your legal guide if you have to go to court. We know it can be stressful if someone has never been to court before, and we will ensure that you are comfortable before we set foot in the courtroom.
These are just a few ways we can help you with your child’s visitation and custody issues. The sooner you get us involved, the easier it will be for us to control the narrative of your case, so reach out to us today to schedule your initial case consultation.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act covers custody and visitation issues. The Act allows reasonable visitation for the parent who does not have primary physical custody of the child “unless the court finds, after a hearing, that visitation would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.”
Attitudes toward parental custody and visitation are changing. In the past, the courts would give one parent “custody” and the other parent “visitation.” However, on January 1, 2016, the revised Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act changed this vocabulary.
Instead of “custody,” the courts now refer to the decision-making issues for the child as the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” The new term for visitation is now “parenting time.” One parent may still have most of the decision-making responsibilities, or these responsibilities may be split between the parents.
Regarding parenting time, children may spend most of their time with one parent, or they may split their time evenly with both. Deciding how much time the children will spend with each parent and which parent will have decision-making authority for the major issues must be determined according to the child’s best interests.
Many divorced parents now share physical custody of their children, moving them between households on a regular basis, but many still have an arrangement where the child lives with one parent and the other parent has regular visitation rights.
Depending on circumstances such as the children’s ages, the parents’ work schedules, and the distances between homes and schools, visitation options may include:
Assuming that it is in children’s best interests to have regular contact with both parents, Illinois courts restrict a noncustodial parent’s visitation rights only when finding that visitation would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.
The custodial parent must first prove that visitation with the noncustodial parent will endanger the child’s well-being. Even if serious abuse is proven, the courts probably will still permit some visitation, but with supervision or restrictions, such as prohibiting overnight visits or visits while the parent is under the influence of mind-altering substances.
When parents can agree on an arrangement for parenting time and allocation of responsibilities and draw up a “Joint Parenting Agreement” on their own, it is almost always preferable to litigation.
When the court accepts your Joint Parenting Agreement, it becomes the Joint Parenting Order and becomes legally binding, and both parents must follow it.
In developing a parenting schedule, you should include the following:
You can include the schedules on a calendar in your parenting agreement. The court will make one for you if you and the other parent can’t agree on a visitation schedule.
If parents do not agree, the court will examine the facts of the case and use the “best interests of the child” standard in reaching its decision. Factors the courts will consider include:
When one parent wishes to move, it can create parenting time problems. Illinois law provides that a parent who has not been granted significant decision-making activities will be entitled to a reasonable parenting time schedule with the child, which can be difficult if one parent moves a distance away.
Therefore, Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/600(g)) has specific distance limitations on how far a parent can move with a child, even within Illinois, without getting permission from the parent or a judge.
Parents who do not have the majority or equal parenting time may move wherever they want, but there are restrictions for parents who have the majority or equal parenting time with their children. These parents can move in the following situations:
The 25- or 50-mile limit is determined by the county you’re moving from, not the county you’re moving to. This can sometimes present problems — for example, if moving from a rural area to a congested city.
Even if parents who are moving do not need permission, they should always keep the non-residential parent notified of where the children are residing. If they are moving beyond the allowable distances, they must get permission to do so.
Do not delay! Call us today for a case consultation at 630-305-0222.
Unlike parents, grandparents and other relatives do not have a legal right to visitation. However, a grandparent, great-grandparent, or sibling denied reasonable visitation may file a request for a visitation order from the courts if . . .
Other relatives, such as aunts, uncles, and cousins, do not have any legal right to visitation.
The court will issue a visitation order if it determines that visitation with close relatives is in the best interests of the child.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act visitation statute does not contain any standard visitation schedule, but local courts may have rules that contain standard or suggested schedules for visitation.
Children may spend most of their time with one parent, or they may split their time with both, but neither parent is labeled “primary” or made to feel as the “secondary” parent.
Instead, factors that are considered when determining scheduling include:
Whether you have sole or joint custody doesn’t play a role in determining visitation schedules, and there generally may be no difference at all. “Joint” custody has more to do with your “parenting agreement,” which delineates certain responsibilities for each parent in making decisions in the major areas of a child’s life.
These include health, education, and religion. “Sole” custody can provide for as much visitation as joint custody, depending on what parents work out for the best interests of the child.
When one parent moves far away, a new parenting time agreement should be made based on the child’s best interests and other factors. For example, suppose long distances are involved. In that case, the non-custodial parent is likely to have less frequent contact with the child but may have the child for longer periods, such as for most summer vacations.
Children are not allowed to refuse visits, but forcing an older child to visit a parent can be more complicated than with a young one. While a child won’t face sanctions for refusing visits, there may be consequences for the other parent who allows the refusal.
This is because both parents have the responsibility to encourage and facilitate visitation. Of course, older children may prefer to refuse visitation, but a court will cut off a parent’s visitation only in the most extreme circumstances.
Visitation and child custody issues are complex and vital to your children’s well-being and adjustment. The facts and circumstances of every case are different, and the situations of parents and children often change, so it makes sense to seek legal counsel to reach the best arrangement for your family.
The skilled Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., represent and advise clients in all types of matters related to making and modifying parental plans; we can also help you with child custody, child custody removals, and paternity issues.
Visit our firm’schild custody information center for valuable background information.
For a free initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate DuPage county custody lawyer, contact us today at 630-305-0222.