When parents divorce or separate, child custody and visitation rights are a common concern. Many Illinois parents may worry that an acrimonious relationship with the other parent may lead to court-ordered supervised visits. These types of orders do not actually occur that often. The American Bar Association website explains that courts will attempt to preserve the relationships between children and parents as much as possible. As such, courts do not place restrictions on parental visits unless there is a compelling reason to do so.
Essentially, supervised visits are only required when unsupervised visits may risk the child’s safety. Restricted visits may be ordered if there is a substantial risk of:
- Violence toward the child
- Child molestation
- The use of drug or alcohol intoxication during visits
Allegations that a parent would endanger a child must be backed by proof.
Illinois Legal Aid explains that, should a court find it necessary to order supervised visits, there is no cap on how long supervision can last. Courts may elect to terminate supervised visits if a safe and healthy bond has formed between the child and the parent. Both parents may also agree to terminate supervisions.
According to the ABA, there are certain limited circumstances in which a parent may, without court approval, refuse a visitation. In order to be valid, these refusals must be based on true emergencies. For example, if a parent is severely intoxicated when he or she arrives for a visit, the visit may be denied. It is important to note that these situations are the exception to the rule; in general it is not acceptable to refuse a parental visit.