Following a divorce, most parents hope to continue to have regular contact with their children, but under some circumstances a parent may have visitation restricted making it more difficult to have an ongoing relationship with a child. There are a number of reasons why visitation may be restricted as the court attempts to act in the best interest of a child. Three of the most common are:
Determining Child Custody With a History of Substance Abuse
When a parent has serious alcohol or drug addiction, which can of course pose a risk to a child, their parental rights can be affected. There may be limits placed on the time he or she gets to spend with their child and their ability to play an active role in making decisions on their child’s behalf.
However, if a parent has had a history of drug or alcohol abuse during the marriage but has made strides to achieve and maintain sobriety and is actively participating in substance abuse counseling for example, the court will typically take their efforts into consideration when making a child custody determination.
Child Custody When Physical or Emotional Abuse Is a Concern
A child’s best interests and safety are top priorities in any custody decision. If a parent has exhibited behavior that threatens a child’s physical or emotional well-being, or has neglected to provide a child’s most basic needs, it is abuse and child custody may be affected.
Depending on the circumstances a judge may either terminate the abusive parents rights altogether or he or she may order reduce visitation, limit overnights, or require supervised visits for a period of time to determine what is in the child’s best interests.
Lack of Parent Contact in Illinois Child Custody Determination
There are situations where a parent has not had a relationship with their child because of geographical distance or perhaps the other parent has been unwilling to allow contact. When there has been little or no contact between a parent and child, parenting time will often be temporarily restricted so that the parent and child can establish a relationship before awarded unrestricted custody. After a period of time, the parent can advocate for enhanced parenting time and responsibility.
Contact an Illinois Child Custody Lawyer
Alcohol or drug issues, child abuse or lack of contact can factor into a child custody and visitation determination. However, it is important to remember that restricting parenting time is reserved for serious situations where a child’s health or well being are at risk. If you have legitimate concerns regarding your child’s continued relationship with the other parent with regard to substance abuse, emotional or physical abuse, or that the other parent is unknown to your child, it is important to seek the help of an experienced family law attorney to represent your and your child’s best interests in a child custody determination.
If you are concerned that your rights as a parent are in jeopardy because of mistakes you have made in the past, including drug or alcohol abuse, or you are facing allegations of child abuse or neglect that has put your relationship with your child at risk, seek legal representation immediately.
Contact Libertyville, Illinois Family Law attorney Ronald L. Bell for help with an Illinois parenting time and responsibility and child custody matter today at 847-495-6000.