It is not easy to be a parent. When you are unmarried, divorced, or separated, and the other parent has been awarded the majority of the parenting time, you may face serious difficulties in being the parent you wish to be. In an ideal situation, you have the right to reasonable parenting time—formerly called visitation—with your child, but reality is often far from ideal. You may be dealing with certain struggles of your own, and, as a result, the court may have placed restrictions on the time you have with your child. While parenting time restrictions may be challenging, they are not necessarily permanent, and you have the ability to work toward the restoration of your visitation rights.
Recognize and Accept the Reasons
Under Illinois law, the court cannot arbitrarily restrict your parenting time rights without proper justification, and proper justification requires more than just the word of the other parent. The court will only place restrictions on your time with your child if the court is convinced by a preponderance of the evidence that you engage in conduct which places your child in serious physical, mental, emotional, or moral danger. As such, the court must specify its findings and identify the behaviors it finds objectionable, including drug or alcohol abuse, physical or psychological abusive actions, or your relationships with certain individuals who may pose a threat to your child. Once you know what the problems are, you can begin working toward resolving them.
Comply With the Restrictions
While you take the necessary steps to improve your situation, you must remain in full compliance with the restrictions that have been placed on your parenting time. If you still have any time with your child, take advantage of it and foster the relationship with your child as much as possible. Demonstrate your dedication to being a better person and more reliable parent. Do not try to get around the court’s restrictions, however. Even if you believe you have made improvements, violating the restrictions before they are formally lifted could lead to you losing your parental rights completely.
Keep Track of Your Progress
When you petition the court to have your restrictions lifted, you will need to show proof that you no longer present a danger to your child. Written documentation of your efforts can be valuable in showing your improvement. For example, if your parenting time was restricted because of alcohol use and abusive behavior, you could keep track of your participation in rehabilitation programs, outpatient visits, and anger management courses. If you attend a 12-step program or a support group, document those meetings as well.
Work With a Skilled Attorney
If your rights to parenting time have been limited or restricted, restoring them will be difficult, but it can be done. Contact an experienced family law attorney in St. Charles to discuss your case. Our compassionate team will work with you in fulfilling the requirements set by the court and can help you file the necessary paperwork to restore your parental rights. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation today, and start becoming the better parent your child deserves.