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Withholding Parenting Time Can Violate Civil and Criminal Laws

Posted on in Child Custody

Withholding Parenting Time Can Violate Civil and Criminal LawsWhen one spouse believes that the other spouse wronged them during their marriage, they may want their divorce agreement to be a way to punish their spouse. Illinois divorce laws do not assign blame to either party for actions such as infidelity, but the court may favor the “victim” spouse when dividing marital properties if the cheating spouse used marital assets to pay for the affair. Parenting time is not a commodity that you withhold from your spouse to punish them. You must base all of your parenting decisions on what is best for your children, and obstructing parenting time without court approval can have civil and criminal consequences.

Allocating Parental Responsibilities

When you try to punish your co-parent by limiting or denying their access to your children, you are also punishing your children by hurting their relationship with their other parent. Denying parenting time is appropriate only when you can prove that your co-parent is a danger to your children. Abusive behavior by your co-parent is the most obvious example of proof, but your co-parent’s infidelity is not evidence by itself that they are a bad parent. 

Violation of Parenting Time

When a parent is dissatisfied with the outcome of their parenting agreement, they may try to get back at their co-parent through parental alienation or obstructing parenting time. Attempting to alienate your children from your co-parent will cause them pain and likely damage your own relationship with them. Withholding your children during your co-parent’s parenting time is a violation of a court order that can result in:

  • A $500 fine for the first offense
  • Suspension of your driver’s license
  • Placing you on probation
  • Revising your parenting agreement
  • Requiring you to post a bond to be paid to your co-parent in the event that you violate the agreement again
  • Mandated parenting classes
  • As long as six months in jail

These are the civil penalties for violating your parenting time agreement. You can face separate criminal charges for the offense. It is a petty offense for the first two violations, with a fine of as much as $500. A third offense is a Class A misdemeanor, and a conviction can result in as long as one year in prison and a fine of as much as $2,500.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

You should always handle any parenting time disputes through the courts instead of taking action on your own. Even if you think you are in the right, it is illegal to violate an existing parenting agreement. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you request a modification to your parenting agreement. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.


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