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Generally, a parent who is not granted residential custody of a child has the right and is encouraged to exercise visitation with the child on a regular and consistent basis in order to foster and maintain a healthy relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child. A typical visitation scheduled will include visitation on weekends, holidays, birthdays and extended visitation during school breaks. Depending on the age, needs and specific facts of the case, visitation with the non-custodial parent may include overnight visitation.

Visitation is not generally required to be supervised. However, as necessary, the court may require visitation to be in supervised setting on a temporary or permanent basis. Supervised visitation may be appropriate in cases in which the non-custodial parent has engaged in a pattern of abusive behavior or where a non-custodial parent has not been actively present in the child’s life and has only recently expressed an interest to become involved in the child’s life. The purpose of supervised visitation is to protect the security of the child while allowing the child to develop a relationship with the non-custodial parent in an environment that is safe and non-threatening for the child.

It is important to note that a non-custodial parent’s visitation rights are independent of issues related to the payment of child support. A non-custodial parent cannot be denied visitation rights exclusively on the basis of non-payment of child support. Each issue is addressed separately by the court, and therefore a parent who does not make regular child support payments may nonetheless be permitted to exercise visitation with the child.

Under limited circumstances, grandparents, great-grandparents and/or siblings of a child may petition the court for visitation with a child. The court’s permission is often sought when a parent attempts to limit the relationship a child has with his grandparents or other sibling(s).

If you have questions regarding visitation or wish to discuss your particular case, please feel free to call The Law Office of Catherine M. Byrne at 312-637-5356.

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