According to Sections 602.5 and 602.7 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/602.7), courts in Illinois are to allocate parenting time and decision-making responsibilities according to a child’s best interests. There is a presumption that both parents are fit and courts should not place any restrictions on parenting time. However, nothing in the statute requires that both parents be allocated decision-making responsibilities.
Unfortunately, it is quite common to hear allegations relating to “bad parenting” in court. Sometimes a parent just does not like the other parent’s parenting style. Sometimes a parent wants to have more control. Sometimes a parent still hasn’t moved on from their previous relationship with the other parent. The court is not there to sort through the parties’ emotions. When a child is involved in a case before the court, the court’s number one priority is to protect that child, as the child’s life and future is being significantly impacted by the court proceedings.
Pursuant to Section 603.10 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, if it is proven by a preponderance of the evidence that a parent engaged in any conduct that seriously endangered the child’s mental, moral, or physical health, or that significantly impaired the child’s emotional development, after a hearing then the court will enter orders as necessary to protect the child.
It is possible that the court would adjust, reduce, or even eliminate a parent’s decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. Parenting time could be ordered to be supervised. Certain third-parties could be barred from being present during a party’s parenting time. The bottom-line is that the court has the power to place constraints and conditions on decision-making responsibilities and parenting time to ensure the child is protected.
Whether you are seeking to restrict the other parent’s parenting time and decision-making responsibilities or you are defending against a request for a restriction on your own decision-making responsibilities and parenting time, it is important to seek qualified legal representation as soon as possible.