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Visitation in Illinois

Family courts in Illinois often appoint one spouse as the residential parent when a couple files for divorce. Following the divorce, the couple’s children are to live with the residential parent. However, the non-residential parent may be granted visitation, which is a prefixed amount of time that nonresidential parents are permitted to spend with their children.

Unless there is reason to fear for the child’s safety, the visitation order allows nonresidential parents to visit with their child without supervision. Visitation orders usually include a routine visitation, vacation time and holiday visitation. The child’s parents have an opportunity to compromise on a schedule that suits both parties. In the event that they cannot come to an agreement on a schedule, the court may determine the schedule, considering the best interests of the child above all.

Illinois courts are obligated to protect the visitation rights of the nonresidential parent. Residential parents cannot deny nonresidential parents their court-ordered visitation, even if the nonresidential parent has failed to pay child support. However, this also means that nonresidential parents cannot withhold child support for any reason, let alone that the residential parents are denying their visitation rights. If there is a demonstrable reason to believe that the child is endangered on account of visitation, the court may restrict that visitation or mandate a supervised visitation.

Divorcing couples may have trouble agreeing on the issue of child custody. A family law attorney may represent a spouse during negotiations over child custody and visitation. In this way, the spouse may ensure that his or her parental rights are not violated. In the event that circumstance arise that make the present child custody order untenable, the lawyer may help submit a request for modification.

Source: Cook County Court, “Visitation”, October 29, 2014