One of the basic tenets of family law in Illinois is the presumption of every parent’s right to a relationship with his or her child. Of course, this presumption contains two concepts that must be addressed: the definition of a parent and what having a relationship actually means. Under law, a parent is fairly easy to define, as only the child’s mother and legal father are granted parental rights. A relationship, however, can be rather difficult, particularly for a parent who has only been granted visitation with his or her child. It can be even more challenging for a parent whose visits must be supervised.
Requirement for Supervised Visitation
A non-custodial parent in Illinois is entitled to reasonable visitation rights with his or her child, unless visitation is found to present a serious danger to the child. The state, however, takes the parent-child relationship very seriously and most family courts are very reluctant to immediately cut off all contact between a parent and the child, the most extreme cases notwithstanding. Instead, the court may require supervised visitation, meaning that the non-custodial parent may visit with the child, but only under the watch of an agreed upon third party. A third party may be a trusted friend, family member, or a licensed mental health professional, and can be specifically designated in the visitation order if necessary. In some cases, the custodial parent may supervise the child’s visits with the non-custodial parent.
Supervised visitation may be appropriate in a number of situations but is often ordered for non-custodial parents when:
- Excessive use of alcohol or any use of illegal drugs is a known or suspected issue;
- The non-custodial parent struggles with emotional concerns, such as anger management;
- Due to lack of involvement or absence, the relationship between the parent and the child has not yet developed very much; or
- There are concerns of potential violence or abuse.
How to End Supervised Visitation
There are no particular guidelines set for how long supervised visitation should continue. It is expected to last however long it may be necessary for a healthy, safe environment to be restored and for the parent and child to develop a strong personal bond. When supervised visitation is required by the court, and after all of the issues have been addressed and resolved, a parent may petition to have the supervision requirement lifted. It is important, however, that the court change the order before unsupervised visitation occurs to eliminate confusion and to avoid potential legal issues.
If you have been subject to a supervised visitation arrangement and are ready to ask the court for an order of modification, a qualified lawyer can assist you through the process. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. to schedule a consultation. We will review your case and help you prove that you are ready to take the next step in the relationship with your child. Call 630-377-7770 today.