By Brittany Martin
A group of parents wanted nothing more than to have parenting time with their children. They had every right to do so, even court orders granting them visitation, but the orders had not been followed.
Repeated incidences of visitation interference, which is the purposeful withholding of children from the other parent, is particularly upsetting, even traumatizing.
To address the issue of parents’ access to their children, organizations around the country, including Children’s Rights Council of Illinois (CRC-IL), are holding visitation interference workshops designed to provide divorce help for men and women.
When there’s a problem, these groups bring parents together, law enforcement officials and divorce mediators and share their experiences, according to CRC-IL Chairman Mike Doherty.
At one recent workshop, Deputy Chief Mark Wodka of the Hinsdale (IL) Police Department told the attendees there are some limitations on the ability of the police to take action in response to visitation conflicts.
He explained that probable cause is necessary for the police to intervene and that the interpretations of the law by courts have to be taken into account. Wodka did promise to better educate both himself and his officers at the Hinsdale station on how to more effectively resolve visitation interference cases.
Some of the parents offered their own advice on divorce, such as reinforcing the benefit of police issuing citations as called for in the current law. Consistent enforcement, according to one parent, would help reduce anxiety in children over the disruption of their access to one of their parents.
Paula Brown, a divorce mediator, discussed the importance of mediation for resolving divorce-related conflicts. She explained how civilly discussing child custody agreements with your spouse could save parents thousands of dollars instead of fighting it out in court.
More importantly, mediation reduces the risk of possibly losing child custody completely, which is traumatic for parents and their children.
For those fathers dealing with visitation interference, contact a divorce resource group in your area to see if similar workshops are being held.
CRC-IL is a non-profit, volunteer-led organization, with the goal of advancing shared parenting options in Illinois. The next CRC-IL workshop is Monday, Aug. 8, featuring guest speaker Brian James, a divorce mediator, discussing effective paths to reaching child-friendly co-parenting agreements. For more information, contact the CRC-IL organizer for these workshops, Ms. Donna Grote, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website http://www.crckidsillinois.org/.