In 2011, there were 10,519 divorces and annulments in Cook County and 33,789 in Illinois. The Illinois Attorney General’s Office reports that there were 562,203 child support cases in Illinois in 2007, affecting 648,892 children. A substantial number of these same children were likely to be involved in questions of custody and visitation.
Illinois law on visitation rights
Generally, courts do not want to prevent a parent from having some level of visitation with children. However, an Illinois family court may restrict or limit visitation if the court were to find the restriction or limitation in the best interest of the child. Illinois law provides that a non-custodial parent is allowed reasonable visitation rights unless the court determines after a hearing that visitation would subject the child to serious physical, mental, moral or emotional harm. Reasonableness may be established by examining the children’s ages and the parent’s ability to provide a healthy environment for the children, taking into consideration the court’s interest in promoting frequent contact between parents and children. Pursuant to Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/607(a)), a parent not granted custody is entitled to reasonable visitation rights unless the court finds that visitation would endanger seriously the child’s physical, mental moral or emotional health.
Methods to restrict visitation
When a court determines that restricting visitation is required, a judge may tailor the restriction to lessen an apparent danger or problem. For example, a judge might organize visits outside of the non-custodial parent’s home or require visits only in the custodial parent’s home to prevent exposing the child to harmful behavior that occurs at the non-custodial parent’s home.
Other examples of restricted visitation plans include:
Such restrictions may be implemented when the court determines that a parent’s behavior is likely to endanger the child or children.
Examples of visitation arrangements
The common visitation schedule of two weekends a month, one night a week during the off week, alternating the major holidays and two weeks in the summer is not always a given. Courts and ex-spouses have become more creative in formulating visitation schedules that accommodate the parents’ lives. Following is a brief glimpse at some non-traditional visitation arrangements:
While the visitation plans have become more creative, courts apply the same standard of the best interest of the child to evaluate its effectiveness.
If you are contemplating a divorce or reexamining existing custody arrangements, meet with an experienced family law attorney.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and families. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As a…
Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her studies…