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Protecting your children's best interests during visitation

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When you decided to divorce, your main priority was to make sure the situation would not permanently scar your children. Due to certain extenuating circumstances, however, you immediately had cause for worry concerning future parenting plans, namely, the potential visitation arrangement.

You know your children are already aware of your soon-to-be former spouse's alcohol addiction. In fact, such issues were major causal factors in the breakdown of your marriage. While you understand that your kids love their other parent, you also don't want them exposed to any situation that may place them in harm's way.

Your spouse has adamantly stated that he or she plans to seek rehabilitation at an appropriate Illinois facility for their substance abuse problem. That doesn't necessarily make you comfortable enough that you want your children having unsupervised visits at this time.

The good news is that there are ways to protect your rights and your children's safety.

The Illinois court has full discretion

A thought that may comfort you ahead of time is that the decision does not necessarily rest with your spouse when it comes to final visitation arrangements. While both parents may express their wishes regarding such matters, any devised visitation plan needs the court's approval.

If you have reason to believe restricted visits would be best for your children, you may request it. The following list includes common reasons the court orders this type of visitation plan:

  • If a particular environment, person or group of people pose a detriment to children's well-being
  • If the parent in question has been convicted of inappropriate sexual contact with children in the past
  • If there is evidence of physical or emotional abuse between the parent and children in question
  • If there is evidence of drug or alcohol abuse

If you can show proof that your spouse has an alcohol addiction that impedes his or her ability to parent, it may be enough to prompt the court to order supervised visits. If the court hands down such a ruling, the supervisor doesn't have to be a law enforcement agent or some other court official. In fact, the third party supervisor may be a close friend or relative of the children.

No two situations are exactly the same. Therefore, you may want to discuss your particular needs with someone well versed in Illinois family law. He or she can help you determine the best course of action for moving forward.


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