Noncustodial Parents Are Entitled to Visitation Rights

 Posted on July 15, 2014 in Kane County divorce attorney

child custody, Kane County divorce attorney, Kane County family law attorney, noncustodial parents, visitation rightsWhen a parent is not granted custody of his child, he is entitled to reasonable visitation rights, unless the court determines that visitation would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health. Traditionally, “visitation” means in-person time spent between a parent and child, but it might also include electronic communication such as phone calls, email, or Skype.

Since the noncustodial parent is entitled to reasonable visitation rights, the court may not restrict those rights unless visitation endangers the child. However, the court may modify an order granting or denying visitation rights if that serves the best interests of the child. The court considers numerous factors when determining a child’s best interests. Those factors include:

  • The wishes of the child;
  • The relationship that the child has with the noncustodial parent;
  • The mental and physical health of all involved parties;
  • The presence or threat of physical violence;
  • The occurrence of ongoing or repeated abuse by the parent, whether it is directed toward the child or another person; and
  • Whether the parent is a sex offender.

Note that the court will not consider the parent’s conduct if it does not affect his relationship with the child. In fact, unless there is ongoing abuse, the court presumes that the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents is in the child’s best interest.

Circumstances in Which Visitation May Not be Granted

While a parent is usually entitled to visitation rights, there are certain situations where the law will not recognize that right. For example, a parent is not entitled to visit a child while incarcerated or while on parole. The same is true if the parent is on probation, conditional discharge, periodic imprisonment or mandatory supervised release. Moreover, if the parent committed a felony, he will not immediately retain visitation rights upon discharge. Before being permitted to visit his child, the parent must complete a court-approved treatment program.

Nontraditional Visitation

What about parents who want to visit their child but cannot?

The best example is a deployed military parent. Deployment does not legally deprive a parent of visitation rights, but it does deprive him of the ability to visit. In that case, the parent may designate a substitute visitor. The child must know the person, and the person may not visit more than is reasonable. (It might be not be reasonable for the designated substitute to visit as often as the parent.) The court must determine that substitute visitation is in the best interest of the child.

Different standards apply when a non-parent seeks visitation. There are other people in a child’s life, such as a grandparent or sibling, who might need to petition a court for visitation rights. As with parental visitation, the court will consider the child’s best interests, but it must also determine that the non-parent meets certain requirements.

If you are a parent or non-parent seeking visitation rights, contact one of our experienced Kane County family law attorneys. We will advocate on your behalf so that you can spend the maximum amount of time with your child. We can assist those in the St. Charles area.

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