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What are the visitation rights of a non-custodial parent?

In Illinois, when a court orders one person to have custody of a child, it will also normally award visitation to the non-custodial parent. Non-custodial parents are typically entitled to visitation with their child unless the court determines that visitation would pose a danger to the child's mental, emotional, physical or moral health.

Visitation includes in-person visits between the parent and child. A visitation order may also mandate electronic communication via telephone or email at specified and reasonable times.

If the court holds a hearing and determines that unsupervised visits with the parent would pose a danger to the child, the court may order the parties to come up with an alternative arrangement for visitation. Alternative arrangements include such things as supervised visitation by a third party, visits at public places or supervising agencies and other controlled visitation. Courts generally want to encourage the child's ability to develop and continue a good relationship with both parents. It is extremely rare for the court to prohibit one parent from having any visitation rights at all, but it can occur in egregious cases.

When a court makes a child custody decision, it does so by considering what is in the child's best interests. The child's interests are preeminent over the wishes and rights of the parents. The court will make its determination after reviewing a number of legal factors outlined under the law. Even when a court awards a parent residential custody of a child, the court will also normally grant the other parent reasonable visitation rights with their child. People who are engaged in a custody dispute and who have questions regarding the process may benefit by seeking the advice of a family law attorney. An attorney might be able to advocate for their clients in court.

Source: Illinois General Assembly, "Sec. 607. Visitation. ", November 13, 2014

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