In the general the hope is that children have both parents involved in their lives in a meaningful way. This is generally what is best for children. This is why even after a divorce, both parents will generally have parenting time with their children. This does not mean that each parent will have equal parenting time, but each parent generally has a significant amount of time with the children.
However, there are situations when it may not be in the best interests of the children to have parenting time with one parent or if they do see that parent that there needs to be rules in place to ensure their safety. Courts are allowed to impose strict restrictions on parenting time, if a judge finds after a hearing, that a parent will endanger a child’s emotional, mental, moral or physical health. This endangerment can come in many different forms, but may include physical abuse, drug or alcohol addictions, untreated mental health issues and other situations.
The restrictions could include taking away decision making responsibilities from the parent; requiring their parenting time be supervised by a trusted third-party to ensure the children’s safety; requiring parents to abstain from drugs or alcohol and complete treatment programs; ordering exchanges to be facilitated by a third-party or in a secure setting; restricting the communication between the parents and other actions to ensure the safety of the children.
There are many different familial situations in Illinois. When families are going through a custody matter though whether it is through a divorce or not, the decisions regarding parenting time will be based on what is in the best interests of the child. In some situations that means restricting a parent’s parenting time to ensure the child’s safety. These can be very emotional and complicated matters and experienced attorneys may be a useful resource.