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When Are Restrictions on Parenting Time Appropriate?

Posted on in Children of Divorce

wheaton divorce lawyerWhen a child’s parents are no longer in a relationship with each other, including when married parents get divorced or when unmarried parents have broken up, both parents will often wish to maintain a close relationship with the child. In many cases, parents will share in the allocation of parental responsibilities (commonly known as legal custody), and each parent will have regular parenting time (sometimes referred to as visitation). However, there may be some situations where one parent believes that it would be best for a child not to have a relationship with the other parent. In these cases, parents will need to understand how the law addresses restrictions on parenting time. When addressing these matters in court, a parent will need to show why their wishes regarding parenting time would be in their child’s best interests.

Parental Rights and Parenting Time Restrictions

It is important to understand that parents have the right to regular, reasonable parenting time with their children. Illinois law states that parents are presumed to be fit, and even if parental responsibilities are solely allocated to one parent, the other parent will most likely be able to maintain regular contact with children and have children spend time in their care. However, a family court judge may decide that restrictions on parenting time are appropriate if there is evidence showing that children’s physical, emotional, or moral health would be at risk when a parent exercises their parenting time rights.

While there are a number of reasons why a judge may determine that it would not be in children’s best interests to have unrestricted parenting time with a parent, the most common reasons for restrictions include:

  • Substantiated allegations of child abuse, neglect, or abandonment by a parent.

  • Situations where a parent has abused another person or allowed abuse to occur in a way that has affected a child.

  • A parent’s use or abuse of alcohol or drugs that has affected their ability to provide care and supervision for a child.

If a judge determines that parenting time restrictions are appropriate, they may order one or more of the following:

  • Reduction or elimination of a parent’s parenting time.

  • Supervision of a parent’s parenting time by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) or other parties.

  • Requiring parents to exchange children in a public place or through a third party.

  • Prohibiting a parent from communicating with or being in close proximity to a child.

  • Prohibiting a parent from using alcohol or drugs during or immediately before their parenting time.

  • Requiring a parent to complete a drug or alcohol abuse treatment program or complete other educational requirements to address abuse or other issues that led to the parenting time restrictions.

  • Prohibiting certain people from being present during a parent’s parenting time.

  • Requiring a parent to post a bond to ensure that they will return the child at the end of their scheduled parenting time.

  • Any other measures that would be appropriate to ensure that the child’s safety and well-being will be protected.

Contact Our Kane County Parenting Time Lawyers

Most of the time, family court judges will only place restrictions on parenting time if they are necessary to ensure that children will be protected from harm. At the same time, a judge will be looking to implement solutions that will allow children to maintain healthy relationships with both parents. If you believe that restrictions should be put in place when your children are with their other parent, or if your former partner is asking for restrictions on your parenting time, Goostree Law Group can help you determine how to proceed. We will help you find solutions that will protect your parental rights while providing for your children’s best interests. Contact our St. Charles child custody attorneys today at 630-584-4800 to arrange a complimentary consultation.


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