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Child visitation considerations

Visitation arrangements are a common element of child custody proceedings across the state of Illinois and the entire country. Divorcing and unmarried parents often develop visitation plans on their own, but there are also instances when such decisions are made by a family law judge. It’s for that reason that parents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with some of the factors that are taken into consideration by the court when determining child visitation arrangements.

According to the Illinois General Assembly, visitation rights are typically granted by the family court to the parent who is not awarded primary child custody. Similarly, other family members including siblings, grandparents, great-grandparents and stepparents can petition for visitation rights under particular circumstances. Establishing legal visitation arrangements is intended to guarantee the parental right of having consistent access to one’s child. Therefore, the court generally does not interfere with visitation plans unless it finds that modifications are necessary.

Discussing some of the factors that play a role in determining and enforcing visitation rights, the Circuit Court of Cook County explains that visitation modifications are often only considered by the family court when concerns are raised over the child’s emotional, mental and/or physical well-being. Similarly, the best interests of the child are the primary consideration of the court when developing initial visitation plans.

When it comes to the enforcement of visitation rights, it is noted that the court is obligated to uphold parents’ rights to their kids. Consequently, visitation arrangements are established separately from child support arrangements, and are independent from child support conflicts. Visitation cannot be legally withheld by either parent, therefore, in the event that child support issues arise.

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