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Visitation: Do Not Take Matters into Your Own Hands

Posted on in Child Custody and Support

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As a parent, there is nothing more important than the health and well-being of your child. Regardless of your own marital or personal situation, you want what is best for him or her. For parents who share custody or who are subject to a visitation arrangement, providing a safe, happy environment in both homes can sometimes present challenges, particularly if one parent is less than fully cooperative. However, it is important to remember that Illinois law has processes in place to handle such situations, and trying to take certain actions on your own can lead to unintended consequences.

Differences in Parenting Styles

If you are no longer married to or romantically involved with your child’s other parent, it is likely that you discovered that the two of you were more different than you initially realized. There is absolutely nothing wrong with parents having their own opinions, styles, and personalities. In fact, when properly discussed and negotiated, as in joint parenting agreement for shared custody situations, such differences can become a positive resource for the child, as he or she can be exposed to a wider variety of experiences.

In visitation situations, however, the differences can seem more pronounced, as they are not as likely to be fully explored. Instead, you may only find out what your ex is doing from your child. The other parent may have slightly different rules in his or her home, place increased levels of importance on household chores, or be less strict about cell phone use, to list just a few examples. As long as your child’s well-being is not seriously threatened, the other parent is free to act however he or she sees fit.

When to Take Action

You will probably disagree with some of the decisions your child’s other parent makes from time to time. In most cases, however, your only option is to communicate reasonably with him or her about the impact to your child. You have no real authority over the other parent, so remember, your conversation is not binding. It is merely a means of trying to find common ground.

However, if the other parent’s actions have placed or continue to place your child in serious danger, including impacts to his or her physical, mental, moral, or emotional health, you need to do something. Contact a family law attorney who can help you file a petition to modify your visitation order. Unless you can prove that danger is imminent, though, you must remain in compliance with the existing order until it is changed by the court. Obstructing the other parent’s right to visitation without provable justification may result in penalties and can even affect your custody arrangement.

If you have concerns about your child and the visitation rights of his or her other parent, contact an experienced family law attorney in Kane County. At The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates, we understand that custody and visitation situations can be very challenging and are prepared to help you protect your child. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.

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