Granting parenting time to abusive mothers

mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

I had an order of protection against my ex-wife on behalf of our daughter because of child abuse and neglect.

Now that the order has ended, my ex is requesting the court provide her with visitation rights.

Is there anything I can do to keep her from having parenting time with a child she previously abused?

Answer:

In the state where I am licensed to practice (Illinois), the statute provides that the parent not granted custody of a child is entitled to reasonable visitation rights unless the court finds, after a hearing, that the visitation would endanger the child’s mental, moral, physical or emotional health.

Courts are reluctant to deny all visitation rights to a parent, except in extreme circumstances.

In order to prove serious endangerment, such that your wife should not have visitation with your daughter, you will need to present evidence to the court, which may include medical evidence, the testimony of mental health professionals, or evidence of neglect or abuse.

Even if you are not able to completely deny your ex-wife visitation with the child, you may ask the court to limit the visitation or require that the visitation be supervised.

In determining visitation, the courts consider what visitation arrangement will be in the best interest of the child.  Therefore, before awarding visitation to your wife, the court will consider the specific circumstances of your case to determine what type of visitation, if any, is in your daughter’s best interest.

Given that there was sufficient evidence of abuse or neglect to obtain an order of protection against your ex-wife, the circumstances giving rise to the order of protection plus any other evidence showing that your wife is an unfit parent would appear to warrant the Court either denying or limiting her visitation rights.

You should contact a qualified domestic relations attorney, such as Cordell & Cordell to review the available evidence as to the what, if any, visitation by your ex-wife is in the best interests of your daughter.

To schedule an appointment with Erin Brockhoff, an Associate Attorney in the Belleville, Illinois office, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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