Illinois courts do not favor one parent over the other when examining how to allocate parental responsibilities. Instead, they consider what is in the child’s best interests.
Although a judge may want both parents to be consistently present in the child’s life, severe circumstances may require specific restrictions on parental responsibilities.
Per the state’s Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, restrictions apply if a preponderance of proof shows that a parent seriously endangered or significantly damaged their child’s mental, moral, physical, and emotional health and development.
To protect the child, the court can order restrictions on:
- Decision-making: Reduced or adjusted role
- Parenting time: Supervised by the Department of Children and Family Services and limited exposure to other individuals during the prescribed time
- Physical exchanges: Done in approved neutral locations
- Communications: Restrained interaction and proximity
- Alcohol and drug use: Abstain from consumption and possession
- Treatment programs: Completion of required rehabilitative courses
When they see fit, the court may impose additional conditions. The parent can seek to modify these restrictions if they can demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in their circumstances. The court will evaluate, and may approve or deny the request, depending on how it promotes the child’s welfare.
Restoring parental functions
Nothing pains a parent more than not living up to their parental purpose. Just thinking about how they might not be there to satisfy their child’s nutritional needs, provide discipline or guide them in building relationships can be devastating. However, parents can find reassurance in knowing that restrictions are not absolute. Thus, they can focus on developing an approach to their situation with a skilled legal counsel ready to work with them to restore their parental functions.