Happy LGBTQ Month! To celebrate Pride month, Masters Law Group dives into everything you need to know about Child Visitation (Parenting Time) Rights for Same Sex Couples in our great state of Illinois.
It’s been eight years since Illinois legalized same-sex marriage in the state. If you are a spouse in a same-sex marriage, you may be unfamiliar with Illinois’ visitation rights laws. Though the same statutory provisions apply regardless of same or opposite sex parents, the laws can be complex.
Masters Law Group understands how difficult divorce is for parents who want nothing but the best for their children. Rest assured, our attorneys have in-depth knowledge of same-sex child custody and vistation laws in order to help you. Here’s a look at Parenting Time in Illinois for Same Sex Couples.
What are Child Visitation Rights?
Child Visitation Rights is the in-person time spent between a child and the child’s parent, or guardian which can fall under a grandparent, great-grandparent, sibling, step-parent, or any person designated under subsection (d) of Section 602.7.
The amount of time that a parent or guardian is allowed to visit their child depends on many things. A court won’t restrict visitation in either a joint custody arrangement or a sole custody situation except when it’s necessary to protect a child’s welfare. Under Illinois law, the restriction of parenting time refers to any limit or condition on parenting time, including supervision.
Courts in Illinois don’t typically place restrictions on parenting time, unless necessary to prevent serious endangerment to a child. In Illinois, courts can create restrictions if they feel it necessary in order to protect the child, here are a couple examples of the following:
- Supervision at visits
- Mandate locations for visits
- Deny visits when the parent is under the influence of drugs/alcohol or has used them within a designated period preceding the visit; and
- Deny overnight visits
It’s important to note that only parents have a legal right to parenting time. However, there are circumstances where guardians may ask for a visitation order from the court when they have been denied reasonable visitation.
Same-Sex Parents Have the Same Parenting Time Rights
In 2015, the Overgefell v. Hodges case went to the US Supreme Court which handed a decision that put same-sex couples on equal footing with all other spouses in domestic relations matters. People of the same-sex can marry, divorce, and address all of the key issues that come up when dissolving their marriage. The basis of this ruling is the 14th Amendment which prohibits the government from denying a person of certain rights without due process.
States were violating this constitutional concept by forbidding same-sex marriage so the Justices made it legal across the board. As such, same-sex couples can – and must – address child custody, visitation, and child support in any divorce case involving minor children.
Illinois Law on Child Visitation/Parenting Time For Same-Sex Couples
- Parenting Time: This concept goes hand in hand with the idea of traditional visitation, where the parent enjoying the time with the child is responsible for the care of the child and making non-significant decisions about the child.
- Parenting Plan: When a couple divorces, they must submit a Parenting Plan to the court outlining agreements on decision-making and parenting time. Parents who cannot agree may file a separate Parenting Plan and the court will make a decision based upon the child’s best interests.
Illinois Parenting Time Guidelines
Illinois prefers shared parenting time whenever it’s in the child’s best interests. In shared parenting time, the child spends periods with both parents.
A judge must approve all parenting time schedules, even when parents come to an agreement in a settlement. If parents can’t agree, each submits a proposal, and the court decides.
Keep in mind that schedules should align with your child’s needs and can affect your child support payments.
The schedule is a part of your parenting plan, meaning it becomes a legally-binding court order with a judge’s approval. It is important to follow the schedule as written, though parents can agree on small tweaks or ask the court to modify the order.
Hiring an Experienced Attorney
By hiring a knowledgeable family law attorney – who is highly experienced in same-sex family law issues – you will only help put you and your family at ease.
Masters Law Group represents individuals in both their initial quest to set a parenting time schedule, as well as parents looking to modify a previously determined schedule.
Throughout her career, attorney Erin E. Masters has focused her practice on all areas related to family law, including divorce, child custody and support, paternity issues, visitation and parenting time, pre- and postnuptial agreements, prosecuting and defending Orders of Protection, and many other areas involving domestic relations and dissolution of marriage.
Furthermore, attorney Anthony G. Joseph is also on the list of approved Guardian Ad Litem/Child Representatives for the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County. So you can rest assured you are in the best possible hands.
Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, contact us here today to schedule a consultation.