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Visitation: What it means and why Illinois courts may grant it

64839260_S.jpgTypically speaking, Illinois family courts will award both parties of a divorce custody of the child or children. Joint custody is the preferred custody setup, as it grants both parents equal decision-making rights and ample time with the child. Visitation, on the other hand, is one of the least favorable options.

According to FindLaw, the Illinois courts may choose to restrict one or both parents' parenting time by awarding visitation if it believes that doing so will prevent serious endangerment to the child. The courts may determine that serious endangerment exists if a parent's conduct leading up to or during a divorce or custody case is such that it would adversely affect the child's emotional development. Generally speaking, for the courts to award visitation over custody, one parent or another party must prove by a preponderance of evidence that a parent's exercise of parental rights would seriously endanger the child's mental, emotional, physical or moral health.  

When awarding visitation, the courts may create whatever restrictions it deems necessary to protect the child. Some such restrictions are as follows:

  •       Required supervision during visits
  •       Mandated locations for visits
  •       Prohibition of overnight visits
  •       Denied visitation in extreme circumstances

According to LiveAbout, if a parent wishes to gain more custody of a child, or if a parent wishes to strip the other of his or her parental rights, he or she must wait until two years after the courts granted the original agreement to make a petition for modification. However, the courts may waive the two-year wait rule if the petitioning parent can prove that the current arrangement endangers the child's mental, emotional, physical or moral health. Likewise, the courts will likely only grant the modification if the petitioning parent can prove endangerment.

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