The Basics of Visitation in Illinois

As any divorced parent knows, the difficult process of ending a marriage involves even greater challenges when there are kids involved. Accounting for the needs of children in a divorce is a high priority for everyone involved, including parents, attorneys and family court officials.

One of the critical matters that needs to be settled in any divorce involving children is that of visitation. When and where will the kids spend time with the noncustodial parent? This and other questions must be considered as you work toward a final divorce decree.

The first thing to know about visitation in Illinois is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Because families are different and have unique and circumstances, many factors are taken into account when developing a visitation agreement. It’s also important to understand that there is no legal connection between visitation and child support - one does not and cannot affect the other. In fact, any parent who attempts to withhold visitation rights for any reason may face legal penalties.

At the same time, noncustodial parents cannot be compelled to spend time with their children. Parents may be entitled to visitation, but they do not have to take advantage of that right. And while children have the right to spend time with both parents, this doesn’t mean a right to visitation exists.

If the relationship between the former spouses is strained to the point that there may be danger in allowing them to exchange their children at home, the exchange can be made in public places. In situations where there are very serious concerns, courts may allow a parent to visit with children only while supervised.

If you have questions or concerns about visitation rights and how they might factor into your divorce, seek the counsel of an experienced divorce lawyer in Chicago. 

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