Being granted sole custody of your child makes you primarily responsible for all of the decisions related to his or her well-being. While such responsibility can certainly be daunting and overwhelming at times, you know that your child is counting on you to do what is best, no matter how difficult. Unfortunately, however, some of the difficulties related to raising a child for a sole custodian involve the other parent’s participation or lack thereof in the child’s life, and visitation issues in particular.
Under Illinois law, a parent who is not granted custody of his or her child is entitled to reasonable visitation rights regarding the child. Most child custody arrangements include a schedule for visitation and parenting time. Some schedules may be strictly negotiated, designating certain days for the child to spend with each parent, while others may be more flexible and cooperative, relying on an amicable relationship between the parents.
Serious Endangerment of the Child
Despite your best efforts, you will never be able to control the actions of the other parent. You may, however, be able to limit the impact of those actions on your child, if and when it becomes necessary to do so. Restricting or limiting visitation is considered a serious measure and will only be considered by the court when serious endangerment to the child’s well being can be shown.
Serious endangerment can be any action or circumstance that significantly threatens the child’s physical, mental, emotional, or moral health. Common examples often include physical or mental abuse, the use of illegal drugs, alcohol abuse, and association with individuals that could negatively influence the child. If you are aware that the other parent is engaging in such behavior, it is important that you take action in accordance with state law.
Restriction of Visitation
You may petition the court for the opportunity to demonstrate the danger to your child, and based on the evidence presented, the other parent’s visitation rights may be limited. In the most extreme cases, visitation rights may be terminated altogether, but restrictions are much more likely. Upon consideration of the circumstances of the situation, the court may:
- Prohibit overnight visitation with the other parent;
- Restrict visits to your home, or other approved location;
- Prohibit visits while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- Require that visits take place under supervision;
- Require that transitions between parents occur in a public location; or
- Impose any other reasonable and appropriate restrictions.
If you are a custodial parent and fear that your child’s other parent is placing your son or daughter in any type of danger, contact an experienced family law attorney in Kane County. The compassionate team at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., understands that your child’s safety is your top priority and is prepared to help. We offer a free initial consultation to address your questions and clarify your options on how to proceed. Call our office to schedule an appointment today.