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illinois supervised parenting time

What is Supervised Parenting Time in Illinois?

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Categorized as Child Custody & Visitation

When a parent has supervised parenting time in Illinois, it means that someone is charged with chaperoning the parent during their parenting time.  Sometimes it is a paid person and sometimes it can be a trusted friend or relative.  It can also be a social worker and the visit can take place at the parent’s home or at a designated facility.  When you have supervised parenting time, it means that you cannot be with your children for any length of time unless the supervisor is there with you.  If the court hears that you were with your children without the supervisor, it could mean a suspension of your parenting time altogether.

How Does a Parent Find Themselves with Supervised Parenting Time?

Under the law, a person’s parenting time is not supervised unless the judge finds that a parent is a serious endangerment to the child.  In the state of Illinois, in order to get a supervisory visitation order between a parent and a child, the party requesting the supervision has the high burden of proving that “visitation would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.”  This is a very high burden to prove and is only granted by the court sparingly, and only in extreme circumstances.  These decisions will be made by a judge after the evidence is heard.  The judge will make a determination as to the parent’s actions and making a determination if the parent can safely parent the child.  The controlled setting is meant to help the parent and child maintain a relationship while keeping the child safe.

Agreeing to Supervision 

Sometimes a parent agrees to supervised parenting time and it almost always causes the parent more grief than they can fathom.  First, the other parent never had to prove you were a serious endangerment, which would normally be a necessity, and second, once you have supervised parenting time, it takes a long time to get a regular parenting order.

There are situations where it is inevitable.  The other side can back you into a corner with the promise that it will only be “for a short time.”  Do not believe it.  It will take months and even years to get rid of and even though the other side never proved a thing against you, the judge is always thinking that supervised parenting time was in place because of something you did wrong. 

There are very few situations where I would advise that you agree to supervised parenting time.

How Long Does Supervision Last?

A judge will decide how long supervised parenting should last.  Sometimes it is supposed to be short in nature while a guardian ad litem (GAL) conducts an investigation, but even these “short” supervisory orders are hard to get rid of, so only in extreme situations should you ever agree to have this imposed upon you.  

I just completed a case where the mom agreed to “temporarily have supervision” of her parenting time while the GAL investigated the father’s claims against her.  That “temporary” order lasted a year.  By then, the father attempted to change custody altogether since he was in possession of the children for so long.  

If you are compliant with the court order, you will slowly work your way into regular parenting time.  It will take a while, but eventually, most people end up with unsupervised parenting time.

Who Can Be a Supervisor?

It depends.  Some parents are lucky and have extended family in the area who can act as a supervisor, otherwise, you are required to pay for the service. Supervisors are not a party to the case, however, so you want to make sure that if the supervisor is related to the parent, they will look out for the child’s best interest and not the parent they are supervising.  A supervisor pledges to guard the child and if it is found that the supervisor is not actually supervising and is allowing the parent to do whatever he wants, you need to get to court to seek to have a new supervisor appointed.  

What Act Result in a Court Ordering Supervised Parenting Time?

Most of the time, I see people ordered into supervised parenting time when there are either drug issues in the parent’s background or some sort of violence.  Situations requiring supervised parenting time:

  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse exists within the relationship, either toward the children or the other parent.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Mental illness if the parent is not compliant with medication and/or treatment.
  • Either kidnapping the child, hiding a child from the other parent, or leaving the state without authorization,
  • Some sort of neglect of the child
  • A parent is in a dating relationship with a person that is deemed to be a risk to the child.

How Do You Get Rid of Supervised Parenting Time?

First, you have to be compliant with the current parenting time court order.  Make sure you are not late for your parenting time and that it ends timely.  Avoid doing the act that landed you with supervision. While that sounds elementary, many parents have problems keeping themselves away from alcohol, drugs, or whatever the problem that resulted in a supervision order.  If you have to pay for the supervision, be as courteous as you can to the supervisor.  This person will likely write a report to the court about how you interact with your child and how you handle parenting time.  You must remember it is not the supervisor’s fault that they are there, so do your best to befriend the supervisor.

Questions About Supervised Parenting? Speak to an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Having supervised parenting time is a big burden on you, your child, and your family.  Do not enter into a supervisory order unless you simply have no choice.  A supervision order is always devasting to the parent because it takes a very long time to get rid of it.  Believe me, anyone who tells you it will be for a “short time” is not being truthful with you.  If you do end up with a supervisory parenting order, then attempt to have your parents be the supervisor. This will allow you to have more than one hour a week with your child and the cost of paying for a visitation supervisor does not bankrupt you. 

Keep in mind that the court will not give you supervision unless you are a serious endangerment to your child, so be sure to seek trusted legal advice from a family law attorney. At Anderson & Boback, our team of skilled and experienced Chicago attorneys has spent decades helping parents deal with complex child custody  issues including supervised parenting time cases. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.

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