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Can a Divorced Parent Withhold Visitation From the Other Parent?

Posted on in Child Custody

Wheaton divorce attorney for parenting time violationsParents who get divorced in Illinois will need to create a parenting plan or parenting agreement as part of their divorce settlement. If parents cannot agree on a plan, the court will make decisions about child custody and issue a parenting plan. In either case, a parenting plan will specify how major decisions about the child will be handled and when each parent will enjoy visitation, technically called “parenting time,” with their child. Understandably, many parents struggle to make the adjustment from spending every day with their child to sharing parenting time with their ex-spouse. However, if a parent purposefully violates the parenting agreement or withholds parenting time from the other parent, he or she can face serious consequences.

Penalties for Violating Your Illinois Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is an official court order, and both parents are required by law to follow the directions contained in the plan. Refusing to allow the other parent his or her allotted parenting time can result in civil and criminal consequences, including but not limited to:

  • A $500 fine

  • Up to six months in jail

  • Probation

  • Required parenting classes

  • Driver’s license suspension

If a parent purposely violates the terms of an Illinois parenting plan for a third time, this constitutes a Class A misdemeanor. The parent could spend up to a year in jail and be required to pay a fine of up to $2,500. Furthermore, disallowing your child’s other parent his or her parenting time can put your own parenting time in jeopardy. The court does not look favorably on parents who purposely disrupt the relationship between their child and the child’s other parent, and a judge may choose to modify your parenting plan and place restrictions on your parenting time or parental responsibilities.

When Your Child’s Other Parent Represents a Threat to Your Child

It should be noted that withholding visitation is only allowed if you have good reason to believe that your child would not be safe with the other parent. Parenting time cannot be withheld because your ex-spouse failed to pay child support or did not meet other obligations. If you have chosen to disallow parenting time because you suspect that your child’s other parent has abused your child or otherwise represents a serious threat to their health, safety, and well-being, you must notify the court immediately. Illinois courts make parenting time and custody decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests. You may be able to have your parenting plan modified if the other parent is not a suitable and safe guardian.  

Contact a Wheaton Child Custody Lawyer

Not allowing a parent his or her court-ordered parenting time can have serious consequences. If your child’s other parent has unreasonably refused to allow you to see your child, you should take immediate legal action to protect your parental rights and your child’s best interests. If you want to request a modification to your current parenting plan, or if you need to address other child custody issues, contact The Stogsdill Law Firm P.C. today at 630-462-9500 to schedule a consultation with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney.





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