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Child custody and visitation rights in Illinois

When parents divorce in St. Clair and across the nation, multiple options exist for child custody. For legal matters, such as decisions about school and medical care, the parents have two options: sole custody or joint custody. This simply determines who makes these types of decisions for the child and has nothing to do with where the child will live. In most cases, the child will live with one of the parents and receive child support from the other parent.

When a child lives with one of the parents, the other parent has the right to regular visitation unless there is any reason to believe that such visitation will harm the child physically, mentally, morally or emotionally. If the parent paying child support stops paying, the other parent does not have the right to deny visitation. Similarly, the noncustodial parent does not have the right to withhold child support because the other denies visitation. It is the court's obligation to ensure that both parties uphold their responsibilities to one another.

The state has visitation guidelines in place in order to protect the child without unduly denying visitation to the noncustodial parent. If the court does not trust the noncustodial parent alone with the child, then they may require supervision for any visitation. This may be the case if the parent is a sex offender or if the court believes that the parent may harm the child in some way. The court could also restrict visitation or deny it completely, depending on the situation.

The child's best interest is the court's main concern in any child custody case. This means that the court will always try ensure that the ruling benefits the child. If the court denies visitation to the noncustodial parent for any reason, an attorney may be able to help by filing an appeal with the court, and if the custodial parent tries to deny court-ordered visitation, it is important that the noncustodial parent report this to the court so that the court can attempt to remedy the situation.

Source: Circuit Court of Cook County , "Child Custody Information", September 10, 2014

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