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access to your child, Lombard family law attorneyWe all get angry from time to time and, often, we want to some sort of action against the person or entity who made us angry. This feeling is especially true for parents who have already managed to cope with the harsh realities of a divorce, separation, or break-up. If you are a recently-divorced parent, you are probably all too familiar with how it feels. You and your child’s other parent divorced for a reason—many of them, most likely—and there is a good chance that he or she will continue to behave in ways that make you very upset. At times, you will probably be tempted to keep him or her away from your child. While you are certainly entitled to your feelings, it is important to keep in mind that inappropriately restricting the other parent’s access to your child can create problems, not only for the other parent but for you as well.

Child Support and Parenting Time

Under Illinois law, child support considerations are made, in large part, without regard to how much parenting time each parent is allocated. From a subjective standpoint, of course, a parent who is more intimately involved with the child’s life may be granted a little more leeway in meeting his or obligations compared to a completely absent parent. Regardless, you do not have the right to dictate the other parent’s parenting time even if he or she is behind on child support. You have the right to petition the court for enforcement actions or to legally restrict parenting time, but if you deny the other parent access without the court’s approval, your own parental responsibilities and parenting time could be jeopardized.

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grandparents, visitation, Lombard family law attorneysAs you raised your own children, you probably looked forward to someday becoming a grandparent. Children often treasure the relationships with their grandparents—as you most likely remember from your childhood—and there is nothing quite like time with a grandchild to brighten a grandparent’s day. Unfortunately, many family situations deteriorate so badly that grandparents are unable to continue the relationships with their grandchildren that they so greatly value. The law in Illinois, however, does provide grandparents in certain situations with at least a glimmer of hope.

Presumed Best Interest of the Child

If you, as a grandparent, are being denied access to your grandchild by your child or the other parent, the law begins with the presumption that the child’s parents have made such a decision in the child’s best interests. A parent has the right to choose who should and should not be in regular contact with his or her child, as long as such decisions are reasonable and are not causing harm to the child. If the child is being negatively affected by the lack of a relationship with you, you may be able to convince a court to grant you visitation privileges.

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Posted on in Child Custody

parenting time, Illinois law, Arlington Heights family law attorneyFor a number of months, posts on this blog have talked about some of various aspects of Illinois family law that were set to change going into 2016. Some of the bigger changes revolve around the state’s approach to divorce and child custody, with the law being updated to address the evolving needs of today’s families. One seemingly smaller amendment, however, addresses parental visitation and presents parents with a new way of thinking about the idea.

Parental Responsibilities

The changes to the law regarding visitation are part of the larger shift in the philosophy regarding child custody. Divorcing, separating, or unmarried parents will no longer be competing for arrangements like sole or joint custody, or for titles such as custodial parent. Instead, parents are expected to cooperate in developing a plan for sharing parental responsibilities. These include both significant decision-making responsibilities, such as education, medical care, and religious training, as well as everyday life responsibilities, known as caretaking functions.

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guardian ad litem, Illinois law, Arlington Heights family law attorneyIf the court presiding over your child custody or visitation dispute has appointed a guardian ad litem to your case, it is important to recognize the significance of such an appointment. It is also helpful to understand the guardian ad litem’s role so that you can be prepared to work closely with him or her in the fulfillment of the assigned duties. When utilized properly, a guardian ad litem can be a valuable resource in finding a workable, healthy resolution to any child-related legal matter.

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

Under Illinois law, only a qualified attorney can be appointed as a guardian ad litem (GAL) in family law cases. The attorney must also be properly trained and certified to serve in such a capacity, as required by the county or jurisdiction. Once appointed, the GAL works as an extension of the court and not as legal counsel for any party to the case. He or she is expected to determine a recommended outcome that will serve the best interests of the child and then to present that information to the court as, essentially, an expert witness.

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communication, custody, visitation, Illinois family law attorneyIf you are subject to child custody or visitation order, you have undoubtedly faced challenges related to dealing with the other parent. They may have been minor issues, if you are lucky, or they may be larger problems, including a complete lack of consistency on the part of the non-custodial parent. You may feel obligated to continue to push the other parent to comply with the arrangements you have in place, but it is important for you to realize where your responsibility to do so ends.

Moral Obligations

Like any responsible parent, you want what is best for your child. Studies continue to show that active participation of both parents in a child’s life can lead to a more positive outcome for the child, regardless of the parents’ marital status. It is totally understandable that you would want your child to have every possible opportunity to grow up healthy and well-adjusted, even if it means continuing to encourage the other parent to uphold their responsibilities. If he or she continues to act with inconsistency, you may wish to consult a pediatric health professional to help you understand where you should draw the line with the other parent.

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grandparent, rights, visitation, Lombard family lawyerIf you are like most grandparents, spending time with your grandchildren is among the greatest joys in life. You, no doubt, look forward to having them come over or interacting with them at family gatherings, just as they eagerly anticipate getting to see you. In some family situations, however, things are often much more difficult, as a failing relationship between the parents may create challenges for fostering such a special bond. Grandparents in cases such as these may have no other option than to petition the court for visitation privileges.

Rights vs. Privileges

Under Illinois law, a parent who is not granted custody of his or her child maintains the right to reasonable visitation. These rights can only be restricted by an action of the court, and may only be done for cause. Visitation for all other family members is considered a privilege, and is not assumed by law in any way.

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visitation, child custody, Illinois Family LawyerThere is no question that it is very difficult for a single parent to raise a child. If you have been granted sole custody of your child, you understand exactly how hard it can be. You also probably realize the challenge of working with your child’s other parent over his or her rights to visitation. Despite the difficulties, however, it is in the best interest of most children to have an active, healthy relationship with both parents, regardless of the custody situation.

Visitation Rights in Illinois

Illinois law states that any non-custodial parent is entitled to the right of reasonable visitation with his or her child, without regard to the relationship between the parents. There is no set standard for what the law considers reasonable visitation, so each situation must be addressed on an individual basis, in light of the child’s best interest. A parent’s visitation rights may be limited and, in rare cases, terminated, but only if evidence exists that the child’s physical, mental, emotional, or moral well-being is seriously endangered.

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