What Can I Do to Enforce Parenting Time for My Child?
A court will make a determination of parenting time regarding minor children as part of a divorce, and both parents are expected to meet their obligations under the order. The occasional deviation from the schedule is understandable as life gets hectic for one parent or the other. However, continued incidents that deviate from the parenting time order can become a problem.
Abuse of allocated parenting time is inconvenient and discourteous, and it is also against the law. Still, it is possible to pursue enforcement under Illinois law. You may be able to proceed in a civil court to enforce parenting time, but—to give more “teeth” to the court’s order—you can also seek criminal penalties against the non-conforming parent. Talk to an Illinois parenting time lawyer about the two different options.
Enforcement in Civil Court
Illinois law specifically provides for situations where there is abuse of parenting time by one of the child’s parents. The other parent can file a petition stating the name, contact information, and place of employment of the person offending the parenting time order, as well as the details of the parenting plan in effect at the time. In addition, the petition must include the specifics of how the other parent is violating the terms of the parenting time order, along with relevant information.
Before filing the petition, the parent must make a reasonable attempt to resolve the dispute over parenting time. For the convenience of the petitioner, the statute requires this type of petition to move quickly through an expedited procedure.
Penalties in Illinois Criminal Courts
There may also be criminal penalties for repeated failures to abide by the terms of a parenting time order, though Illinois law refers to the situation as “unlawful visitation interference.” The punishment is akin to a traffic ticket for the initial violation, with a fine of $500 for the first two offenses. However, the penalties increase with subsequent violations. Eventually, the abuse of parenting time may rise to the level of a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by imprisonment up to one year and a maximum fine of $2,500.
Ask a Qualified Parenting Time Lawyer About Your Options
Minor deviations from the parenting time schedule are to be expected, but abuse of the situation is unacceptable. As such, Illinois law provides for both civil and criminal procedures to enforce a parenting time order. Each type of proceeding is complicated and requires more than just mere allegation. Therefore it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side to present your case in court. The skilled DuPage County family law lawyers at Davi Law Group, LLC can help you with all types of parenting related matters, so please contact us with questions.