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A New Arrow in The Quiver of Remedies for Visitation Abuse

Goldstein Law Office Jan. 22, 2021


The new arrow in our quiver and arsenal in enforcement of visitation orders. The only marriage and dissolution of marriage act which applies both to children of marriages as well as children born without the benefit of a marriage provides a concise and very easy solution to the courts for the enforcement of the visitation(alternate parenting(violations that we so frequently see in our everyday practice.

The court is always had jurisdiction to enforce its orders with contempt but now it is the added some new powers as well as simplified the definition of what exactly constitutes a violation by calling” visitation abuse”.

Visitation abuse occurs when a party has willfully and without justification:
(1) denied another party visitation is set forth by the court; or
(2) exercised his or her visitation rights in a manner that is harmful to the child or the child’s custodian.”

The statute goes on to provide a simple process of a petition which in five steps spells out the problem in places the solution directly before the court. Briefly the statute requires that you simply:

“An action for the enforcement of allocated parenting time may be commenced by a parent or a person appointed under Section 506 by filing a petition setting forth: (i) the petitioner’s name and residence address or mailing address, except that if the petition states that disclosure of petitioner’s address would risk abuse of petitioner or any member of petitioner’s family or household or reveal the confidential address of a shelter for domestic violence victims, that address may be omitted from the petition; (ii) the respondent’s name and place of residence, place of employment, or mailing address; (iii) the terms of the parenting plan or allocation judgment then in effect; (iv) the nature of the violation of the allocation of parenting time, giving dates and other relevant information; and (v) that a reasonable attempt was made to resolve the dispute.”

The extent of the courts power to remedy the problem is so inclusive that it includes modifying the visitation schedule restricting or expanding it(even adding makeup time) and causing the visitation to be supervised or requiring mediation and/or counseling. Is more punitive solution the court can invoke its contempt power which includes imprisonment attorney’s fees and fines; and finally and perhaps the most intriguing, the court caused the Secretary of State to suspend the violator’s Illinois driving privileges pursuant to the Illinois vehicle code until the court determines that the party is in compliance with the visitation order.
This also brings the violator into a myriad of issues to the extent that he financial responsibility permit can be issued which limit driving privileges for employment purposes or necessary medical purposes as set forth in the statute.

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