Illinois has raised the bar higher for one parent to restrict the other parent’s parenting time. This restriction is executed only when usual parenting time is proven beyond a reasonable doubt to be a danger to the child’s health and well-being, such as threatening the psychological and physical health of the child.
The court implements different kinds of restrictions, ranging from supervision to restricting communication. The following are examples of parenting time restrictions in Illinois:
- Reduction or removal of parenting time
- Temporary or permanent supervised parenting time
- Demanding a parent to avoid consuming or possessing drugs like alcohol and marijuana within a specific period before parenting time
- Demanding a parent to finish a treatment program
- Restraining the parent from interacting or getting close to the other parent or child
Investigation of Child’s Safety Concerns
If a parent fears that the ex-spouse is a danger to his or her children, the court will consider the issue as a valid and serious concern. Judges usually handle claims of abuse and violence seriously. They always prioritize the child’s safety and security when making decisions. Before granting custody or visitation rights, a judge usually investigates both parents and reviews available facts to decide who should take parental rights and responsibilities.
If a parent accuses an ex-spouse of abusing his or her child psychologically and physically, the court will immediately start an investigation to establish if the accusations are true. The investigation may include interviewing the accusing parent’s relatives, close friends, and neighbors. Talking to the allegedly abused child in the presence of the ex’s attorney is another crucial part of the investigation. Forensic interviews may also be carried out. Factors such as bruise marks, the child’s age and maturity level, and actions of the accusing parent may influence the decision of the court.
Restricting Parenting Time
Filing a motion to limit parenting time or responsibilities is the best way a parent can deal with an ex-spouse who is abusive to the children. The accusing parent will, however, need to provide enough evidence to support his or her allegations. A child custody lawyer can guide the accusing parent on the best way to document the abuse and gather sufficient evidence to increase the odds of the judge approving the motion. Medical records, police reports, and testimonies from witnesses are some of the documentation that can help demonstrate that an ex-spouse is indeed a danger to the child’s wellbeing.