Supervised Visitation in Illinois
What can a parent do if he or she believes a former spouse is acting in a manner that is harmful to their child during visitation? Moreover, what if the court orders visitation but a parent is reluctant to take his or her child to the former spouse's home due to certain individuals residing in the home?
In some cases, custodial parents may find themselves concerned about the kind of environment their child may be in when they visit the other parent. A concerned parent may want to protect their child and request supervised visitation. However, it is not always simple to have the court order supervised visitation, and a parent requesting such visitation would have to show by clear and convincing evidence certain factors in order to prevail.
Visitation and Illinois Law
Illinois law generally allows a non-custodial parent reasonable visitation rights unless the court finds, after a hearing, that visitation would seriously endanger a child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health. The court also has the right to modify an existing visitation order as necessary. The serious endangerment prerequisite is a strict requirement because Illinois courts generally prefer to foster a parent-child relationship whenever possible.
Therefore, if a parent has a minor disagreement with the other parent, or disagrees with the other parent's choice in a new partner, it is unlikely to rise to the level of serious endangerment of a child's mental, physical, moral or emotional health. However, if a new partner or the other parent is abusive, or if the other parent is seriously mentally ill, a custodial parent may seek supervised visitation. In most cases, supervised visitation orders are reviewable after a certain time.
In cases of domestic violence, especially when children are also victims, the court is more likely to limit or refuse visitation altogether, or require supervised visitation. In most cases, there may also be a protective order in place to restrict an abusive parent's access to a child.
When supervised visitation is ordered, the court can appoint a family member, friend, or other community member to supervise the visits between children and a non-custodial parent. There are also supervised visitation centers that can provide a neutral place for a supervised visit to take place, while staff members or social workers may observe the visit. In most cases, the centers do not charge fees for low-income families. Additionally, there are private organizations that offer supervised visitation services.
Contact an Illinois Family Law Attorney
If you are concerned about your former spouse having visitation with your child, and would like the court to order supervised visitation, or to modify an existing visitation order to supervised visitation, contact the experienced Illinois family law attorneys at MKFM Law for a consultation.