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What Happens if a Visitation Order Has Been Violated?

HomeBlogChild CustodyWhat Happens if a Visitation Order Has Been Violated?

No matter the relationship status of two parents, Illinois law promotes a relationship between parents and their children, even if one parent doesn’t have custody. Whenever possible and in the best interest of the child, family courts will award visitation. The custodial parent is expected and legally obligated to adhere to the visitation orders, as is the non-custodial parent. If a parent intentionally causes problems with court-ordered visitation, it is known as visitation interference. Parents who are experiencing this should reach out to a seasoned Illinois parental responsibilities attorney as soon as possible to address the situation.

Criminal and Civil Penalties for Violating Visitation Orders

If the custodial parent blocks the other parent from their visitation time, there are both criminal and civil remedies. Suppose a parent decides to pursue civil relief. In that case, they can petition the court to have the non-compliant parent held in contempt of court for violating a visitation order. 

Civil Penalties

To prove that one parent violated the visitation order, they must be able to show that:

  • A court order for visitation existed
  • Its terms were clear
  • The other parent intentionally violated the terms of the order without a court-accepted reason

If the non-custodial parent or their Illinois parental responsibilities attorney can prove that there was visitation interference by the other parent, they can order:

  • More visitation time to account for the time missed
  • The non-compliant parent to provide compensation for other parent’s attorney expenses

Suppose there is an ongoing and consistent pattern of non-compliance with custody orders. In that case, the judge might decide to change the orders completely. Parents also have the right to an expedited hearing on these matters.

Criminal Penalties

A non-custodial parent who has dealt with ongoing severe visitation interference by the custodial parent might also have remedies in the criminal court. They are entitled to seek these in addition to civil remedies. If parents wish to pursue criminal charges, they can discuss it with their Illinois parental responsibilities lawyer. When court orders for visitation are deliberately ignored, the local police or the Illinois State Attorney’s Office can charge the custodial parent with visitation interference.

If it’s the parent’s first time to face this charge, it’s charged as a petty crime. If found guilty in criminal court, they will typically have to pay a fine. However, if it happens more than once, the parent can be charged with a misdemeanor. Only a few defenses apply to these charges, and they include:

  • Protecting the child from imminent physical danger
  • Mutual consent of both parents 
  • The violation was in some way authorized by law

Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Illinois Parental Responsibilities Lawyer Today

You have every right to see your children as the court has ordered. Withholding children and not abiding by visitation and parenting plan orders are serious. For various reasons, some custodial parents commit visitation interference. For the parent who has been granted visitation with their child, this can be quite overwhelming and frustrating. You need an advocate on your side to stand up for your rights and hold the other parent accountable for their actions. 

You can find such an advocate at the Goodman Law Firm. To meet with an experienced Illinois parental responsibilities lawyer, contact our office today. We can schedule a consultation to help you understand your legal rights and options to enforce court-ordered visitation. 

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