UPDATE: This post was originally published in March 2015. Since January 1, 2016, Illinois law no longer uses the terms “custody” and “visitation” to refer to arrangements between a child’s legal parents. Instead, in a divorce, both parents are usually granted a share of parenting time, meaning that the child will spend significant time living with both parents. This language treats parents more equally, but one parent may still have a larger share of parenting time based on the child’s best interests. Additionally, parenting time can be restricted for a parent who endangers a child’s health or well-being.
The term “visitation” is still used for grandparents, siblings, and other relatives who seek to secure the legal right to spend time with a child. However, legal action of this nature is usually only warranted when the child’s parents are preventing a relative from seeing the child, and there is evidence that doing so is causing the child harm. If you are seeking visitation as a grandparent or another relative, you will need to demonstrate to the court that your visitation is in the child’s best interests.
For legal assistance with your parenting time or visitation case, contact the Wheaton, IL family law attorneys at Davi Law Group today by calling 630-580-6373.
Under Illinois’ visitation law, if you have a child, but do not have custody, you may consider obtaining visitation rights. Visitation rights are not limited to parents, but can also be extended to grandparents or siblings.
If you were married to the parent who currently has custody, you will automatically be entitled to visitation rights. However, if you were not legally married, you would have to show that visitation with you would be in the best interests of your child.
A judge will consider several different factors when determining the best interests of your child. These factors can include your wishes, the wishes of the custodial parent, your child’s wishes, your child’s relationship with both parents, the financial and physical health of all parties, and the potential for abuse or violence. An experienced local family lawyer can help you prepare for your day in court seeking visitation rights.
Requirements for Seeking Visitation as Part of Divorce Proceedings
If you are seeking visitation during your divorce case, both you and the other parent are required to attend a parenting class. This class is typically four hours long, and it focuses on teaching parents how to avoid hurting their children while the divorce is taking place. Both parents must complete this class within two months after being ordered to do so by the judge. Oftentimes, it is available to be taken online. After you have completed the class, a family law judge will make a decision.
How to Obtain Visitation Rights
If you do not have a court order from a judge, the parent with custody of your child is within his or her rights to deny you visitation. To obtain an order, the first step is filing a Petition for Visitation with the local circuit court. Some circuits use pre-printed forms, but others do not, and will accept your petition in another form.
Your petition must include basic information about both parents and your child, and your detailed request for visitation. This document needs to be filed in the appropriate court, which is generally the court where your divorce, parentage, or custody case was heard.
After you have filed your petition, you will need to serve it on the other parent, ask the court for a hearing date, and notify the other parent of the hearing date. At the hearing, you will present your case, the other parent may choose to present reasons why you should not get visitation rights, and the judge will ultimately decide.
Seek Assistance from a Knowledgeable Family Lawyer
Successfully petitioning for visitation rights can be a tough and messy process. Having an experienced and dedicated DuPage County family lawyer at your side can help ensure that your request for visitation rights goes as smoothly as possible. Contact Davi Law Group, LLC today for a consultation, and move forward with your relationship with your child.