Do I Need to Worry About Parenting Time Restrictions?

Do I Need to Worry About Parenting Time Restrictions?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

When parents with minor children plan for divorce, issues of parental responsibilities, especially parenting time, can be contentious. It is common for both parents to want to spend as much time as possible with their children and to play a large role in raising their them. In particularly contentious divorce cases, one or both parents may be worried the other parent will try to take steps to prevent them from spending time with the child. Under Illinois law, restrictions on parenting time are relatively limited so it is important for parents to understand when restrictions are placed on a parent’s time with a child.

In general, if you are worried you will face parenting time restrictions because the other parent is angry at you for the divorce, you should know our Chicago area child custody lawyers can help show you are entitled to parental responsibilities. At the same time, it is important to understand the types of scenarios where a court will restrict parenting time.

Courts Can Restrict Parenting Time, But Only If It Would Endanger the Child

Courts can decide to restriction parenting time, which means any limitation placed on this time. However, Chicago area courts do not make such a decision lightly. First, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), which governs the allocation of parental responsibilities, expressly states courts begin from a presumption that “both parents are fit.” Accordingly, the court will only place a restriction on parenting time if it finds this time would endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.

The IMDMA does not define specific situations that would endanger a child in the ways described above. Some examples of statutory factors that may lead a court to restrict parenting time can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Child abuse or neglect;
  • Abandonment of the child;
  • Allowing another person to abuse the child;
  • Using drugs or alcohol in a way, which interferes with the parent’s ability to provide caretaking functions for the child; and/or
  • Persistent interference with the other parent’s relationship with the child for reasons that are not in good faith.

Should I Be Worried My Ex Will Argue for a Restriction of Parenting Time?

Every case has its own set of facts and it is important to have your case evaluated by an experienced Chicago area family lawyer. However, it is important for parents to understand there are many things they may be worried about, which will not lead to a restriction of parenting time. You may be concerned, for example, that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is gathering evidence about your social life from your friends and social media accounts and that they will try to use that information against you. The following is the type of information that will typically not lead to a restriction of parenting time on its own, but is the type of information you might be concerned about:

  • You went out with friends and had a beer or a glass of wine, and there is a photo of the outing on social media;
  • You joined a dating site or app; or
  • You have been dating occasionally when you do not have your children.

It is also important to keep in mind that one of the factors a court can use in deciding to restrict parenting time is whether one of the parents is unfairly and persistently interfering with the other parent’s access to the child. As such, if your ex is taking steps to prevent your kids from seeing you and those actions are not in good faith, the court could restrict that parent’s parenting time.

Contact a Chicago area Parenting Time Lawyer

If you have questions or concerns about parental responsibilities, a Chicago parenting time attorney can assist you. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC today for help.