If you do not receive primary residential responsibilities regarding your children during your divorce, you will almost certainly be awarded visitation rights, now referred to as parenting time. However, all visitation is not created equal, especially if there have been alleged problems with your conduct toward the children or your former spouse. It is a good idea to try and familiarize yourself with the types of restrictions on your parenting time that you may face if you have encountered allegations of being a danger to your child.
By far the most common type of restriction placed on the exercise of parenting time is supervision, meaning that the other parent or a third party must be present at all times during the restricted parent’s parenting time. Generally, if any allegation of dangerous conduct is made during divorce proceedings, a hearing will be held on the subject. If the conduct is proved by a preponderance of the evidence and that the child’s physical, mental or emotional health would be endangered by unsupervised parenting time with that person, supervision is the most common remedy assessed. The Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) has the right to oversee continuing supervised visitation, if it is deemed warranted.
Keep in mind that a child tends to benefit from having both parents in their life unless it can be shown definitively that it would not be in the child’s best interest. Mental health issues or substance abuse problems are not sufficient to preclude visitation, though it is grounds to refuse or deny it if the parent is unable to control those issues in the presence of their children.
Time and Place Restrictions
Even if you are able to avoid having third-party supervised parenting time, restrictions still may be placed on your ability to exercise it if there is some question of your fitness as a parent. Different restrictions may be used depending on the different problems that may exist in your case. For example, if the a parent lives in an area that is considered unsafe, or with people that might be considered unsafe, a court may order that his or parenting time occur in someplace that is not their home. Sometimes, the court will even require the visits to take place even in the other parent’s home.
It is also important to keep in mind that if you are ruled to be a danger to your children’s physical, mental or emotional health, you may not under any circumstances use someone else’s visitation time (for example, a grandparent’s) in order to contact your children. If you do, there is a strong possibility that their visitation will be revoked and you can face consequences. In extreme cases, contempt of court is possible, which can result in fines or even jail time.
Contact a Dedicated Family Lawyer
Most parents want any kind of contact with their children that is possible, but some may stretch the rules or misunderstand them in order to get more. If you are in a position where your parenting time may be restricted, our experienced Kane County parenting time attorney can help answer your questions. Call 630-377-7770 for a free consultation today.