The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

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1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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North Aurora divorce attorney visitation

When a couple has made the decision that it is time to divorce, it can be a difficult process for the entire family. There are many things that the couple will need to adjust to, but there are also many things that the family members will need to adapt to as well. One of the biggest changes that is often difficult for many families is dealing with change in the day-to-day life of the child. Child custody, now referred to as parenting time, is allocated to each parent, typically in an equal or near-equal manner. In some cases, though not always, individuals other than the child’s parents are able to petition for visitation rights with the child.

Individuals Permitted to File a Petition for Visitation

Not everyone is legally entitled to visitation rights with a child. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there are only specific people who are able to submit a petition for visitation. These people can include step-parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, or siblings of the child. Visitation will only be given to non-parents if the petitioner can successfully argue that the child’s well-being has been negatively affected by the denial of the visitation and that the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health has suffered because of it. A non-parent can file for visitation if the child’s parent unreasonably denies visitation and at least one of the following situations is true:

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grandparents, DuPage County family law attorneyAllocating parental responsibilities often involves more than just parents and children. Grandparents and other family members often play a critical role in a child's life. For this reason, Illinois low allows grandparents to seek court-ordered visitation rights with a child.

It is important to understand that the law presumes that a parent is fit to make decisions regarding their child. This includes where and when to let a grandparent visit. If, however, the grandparent can prove to the court that the parent's denial of access is both unreasonable and harmful to the child's “mental, physical, or emotional health,” a judge can override the parent after considering a number of factors.

Court Holds Oral Visitation Agreement Unenforceable in Illinois

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Posted on in Visitation

parenting time, visitation, DuPage County family law attorneyFor many years in Illinois, the parental right to reasonable visitation has been fiercely protected by law. While a court could restrict or limit visitation to protect the child, it would take an extremely serious set of circumstances to completely terminate such rights of a parent. Thanks to a measure passed in Illinois this past year, parents will no longer be considered to have so-called “visitation” with their children. Instead the term to be used will be “parenting time,” more accurately representing the inherent responsibilities.

Changes in Child Custody Laws

The shift from visitation to parenting time is part of an overall larger transformation of the state’s child custody provisions. Concepts of sole and joint custody are being eliminated in favor of a much more cooperative idea of allocated parenting responsibilities. Child custody, as it currently exists, was often a major point of contention for divorcing, separated, or unmarried parents, as many seemed fixated on “winning” or “losing” a custody battle. By focusing on actual parenting responsibilities rather than titles or statuses like custodial and non-custodial parent, the well-being of the child is more likely to remain the top priority.

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visitation, Illinois law, Illinois family law attorneysParents who are divorced or unmarried face often face significant challenges in remaining an active part of their children’s lives. As a non-custodial parent, especially, you may find getting access to visitation with your child to be difficult, let alone developing a meaningful parent-child relationship. Despite the obstacles, however, you know how important your child is to you, and understanding your legal rights can help you take necessary steps toward your more prevalent role in his or her life.

Reasonable Visitation Rights

The law in Illinois presumes that the best interests of a child are served when he or she enjoys a positive relationship with each parent. As such, any parent who is not granted custody of a child is granted reasonable rights to visitation. “Visitation” is a term which may be used to describe interactions between the child and a parent in various custody situations. For example, if your child’s other parent was granted sole legal custody, you generally maintain visitation rights. Alternatively, if you and the other parent have been granted joint custody, your child will likely maintain a primary residence with one of you while enjoying visitation with the other.

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Aurora family law attorney, Chicago divorce, child custody, children of divorce ,DuPage County family law attorney, family law, father’s visitation rights, Illinois family law attorney, visitation, visitation rightsIf you have children and are considering a divorce, the process will be all the more complicated. Not only will you need to resolve matters of property division, alimony, and the dissolution or separation of a shared business, you will have to determine child custody, visitation rights, and child support payments. It is often assumed that mothers automatically receive full custody, but this is not the case in Illinois. All parents in Illinois are given visitation rights unless it is deemed not in the best interest of the child.

According to the Illinois General Assembly, any parent not awarded custody has a right to see the child as long as the Court does not determine “that visitation would endanger seriously the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.” Visitation does not necessarily include electronic communication—this is considered separately from actual visitation. Visitation refers to in-person time spent with the child. Electronic communication refers to Skype or other forms of video chatting, electronic mail, or telephone time.

If the non-custodial parent does not take advantage of his or her visitation rights within at least three months, the other parent can petition to deny or limit future visitation rights, according to the Illinois General Assembly. This is also the case if the non-custodial parent has been in jail or prison “during the three-month period preceding the filing of the petition.”

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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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