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Can you renegotiate your visitation order?

When going through a divorce, parents must face important decisions regarding the care of their children. Unless parents can come to an agreement on their own, child custody and visitation may be determined by the court. In Illinois, judges are obligated to protect the visitation rights of both parents, as well as the well-being of a child.

A Chicago child visitation lawyer understands that circumstances may change, making it necessary to renegotiate a visitation order occasionally. A visitation schedule is typically designed to provide parents with guidance regarding when and where their children will spend their time, but if a child is not benefitting from a current order, it may be time to seek a modification.

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Reasons visitation may be modified

In Illinois, the modification of a visitation order can be done at any time two years after the original order, as long as it is in the best interest of the child. There are a wide range of reasons that a judge may consider a modification, including the following:

  • A change in a parent’s work schedule
  • Relocation of a parent
  • A parent does not follow the ordered schedule
  • A parent uses visitation as a way to abuse the other parent

Either or both parents may petition the court for a change in a current visitation order, but a judge must look at whether the change is still within the best interests of the child.

Restricting visitation rights

A Chicago child visitation lawyer knows that state law does not allow the court to restrict visitation rights unless there is significant proof that visitation with a parent would endanger a child physically, emotionally or mentally. If it is determined that a parent does not qualify for full visitation rights, a judge may modify an order to prohibit overnight visits, require visitation in the custodial parent’s home, require supervised visitation or require visitation to take place away from the non-custodial parent’s home.

How to petition for renegotiation

In order to modify a visitation order, a parent must file a Petition to Modify Visitation with the court and must notify the other parent. A Chicago child visitation lawyer may suggest talking with the other parent beforehand to come to an agreement, when possible. The renegotiation process can be much easier when both parents are in agreement with how they would like the visitation order to be changed. Many divorced parents choose to work with an attorney when modifying court orders involving their children. The process can be complicated, so it may be helpful to have legal assistance when drafting the required documentation.

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