If you are getting divorced and have minor children from your marriage, you may know that the court no longer awards child custody to the parents, but instead allocates parental responsibilities. The term parental responsibilities includes both important decision-making responsibilities (what many Chicago residents knew previously as “legal custody”) and parenting time (what we used to call “physical custody” and “visitation”). Generally speaking, courts want to allow both parents to play an important role in the life of their child, which means sharing in some capacity important decision-making responsibilities in addition to parenting time. However, there may be some cases in which it is appropriate to have a restriction of parental responsibilities or a restriction of parenting time.
We will say more about these terms and the motivations behind them under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA).
Understanding the Restriction of Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time
The IMDMA defines a restriction of parenting time as “any limitation or condition placed on parenting time, including supervision.”
When are parental responsibilities, including parenting time, restricted? Section. 603.10 governs the restriction of parental responsibilities. The statute states that if the court finds that the child’s mental, moral, or physical health or emotional development is at risk because of the conduct of the parent, the court will make a decision to protect the child’s best interests. Examples of order may include but are not limited to the following:
- Reduction of parenting time or visitation time;
- Supervision by the Department of Children and Family Services;
- Restrictions on how the exchange of the child between the parents is carried out;
- Restrictions on a parent’s communication with the child;
- Restrictions on a parent’s use of alcohol or drugs;
- Restrictions on who can be present during parenting time;
- Requiring a parent to complete a treatment program in order to obtain visitation rights.
The court can also impose any other conditions or constraints that it believes to be appropriate under the circumstances.
Modifying a Restriction of Parental Responsibilities
As you might guess, a restriction of parental responsibilities typically occurs in situations when a parent commits domestic violence, child abuse, another form of violent crime, or engages in behaviors related to alcohol or drug abuse and addiction. It is important to remember that a restriction of parental responsibilities is not absolute. The court can modify a restriction if it determines that a modification is appropriate.
To modify a restriction, the court must find that the modification is in the best interests of the child, and that there has been a change in circumstances since the restriction.
Contact a Chicago Child Custody Attorney
If you have questions or concerns about a restriction of parental responsibilities, you should get in touch with a child custody attorney in Chicago about your case. Contact Arami Law, Inc. to learn more about how we can assist you.