While the determination of child custody at the time of divorce is important, the legal struggle may continue until the child is emancipated at the age of 18. Even after an original order is in place, parents will often return to court for visitation disputes, modifications, and the enforcement of visitation rights.

At Stewart and Capraro, Attorneys & Counselors at Law, we have the resources, experience, and skills in advocacy to effectively assert your rights and your child’s best interests. We handle child custody and visitation rights cases for clients throughout greater Chicago and Cook County.

Contact us for a consultation with an experienced child custody and visitation attorney.

Child Custody Arrangements

In Illinois, either one parent is given sole custody or both parents are given joint custody. In either case, the children may live primarily with one parent and the other parent have visitation. In joint custody, the parents have equal decision-making authority regarding education, religion, health care, etc. even if the children spend more time living with one of the parents.

Visitation

In determining visitation arrangements, parents can either work together to establish a visitation plan that suits the needs of the family or a court will establish a visitation schedule if one cannot be established by the parties. We are experienced in working collaboratively with clients to create visitation schedules or assert the interests of our client and the children in court.

Enforcing Your Visitation Rights

Sometimes, one parent refuses to allow the other parent their visitation time. Reasons for denial of parenting time include child support nonpayment, inconvenience, if the kids don’t want to go, or a disapproval of the other parent’s parenting style or choices.

By law, neither parent can prevent visitation unless the child is being physically or emotionally harmed. If the kids don’t want to go, there may be “alienation of affection” (one parent trying to get the kids to hate the other parent) or there may be abuse, but the court needs to determine whether a modification is in order. Even child abuse is a separate issue, legally and is not a reason to deny visitation.

The only acceptable reason for denying visitation is imminent danger to the children. If you think your children’s other parent is physically or emotionally abusing or neglecting them, you have the right to go to court and get the visitation modified or denied. Contact us for more information about modifications or enforcement of visitation rights.

Changes in Child Custody or Visitation

If you want to change custody within two years of a custody agreement being entered, you have to show a substantial change in circumstances to change custody.

After two years has passed since your initial custody order, you only have to prove it’s in the best interest of the child to change custody. Our attorneys will take the time to collect necessary evidence and seek to compel the court to change a custody or visitation schedule. We can also defend your rights should you need to oppose the modification.

For more information about child custody or visitation rights in Illinois, contact Stewart and Capraro, Attorneys & Counselors at Law and schedule a consultation with a lawyer at our law office in Oak Park. We provide focused client service and committed advocacy for clients throughout greater Chicago and Cook County.