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Understanding Parental Rights in Illinois

 Posted on August 11, 2021 in Child Custody / Parental Responsibilities

IL Family Law Attorney for Parental RightsIllinois law presumes that parents have the ability to adequately care for their children and provide a safe living environment. Consequently, anyone who has established parentage or paternity of a child is entitled to certain parental rights. Among these rights is the right to be awarded “parenting time” or time with the child. However, some parents will need to take steps to gain parental rights. Furthermore, some circumstances may lead to the restriction or termination of a parent’s parental rights.

When Does a Parent Have a Right to Visitation?

Parenting time, which used to be called “visitation,” is the time that a parent watches his or her child and cares for the child’s everyday needs. Divorced parents allocate parenting time in their parenting plan. However, in order to be entitled to parenting time, unmarried fathers may need to establish paternity. Paternity may be established by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) upon the child’s birth or through a judicial or administrative process.

Parents may be subject to a parenting time restriction if there are concerns that normal parenting time may endanger the child’s health or wellbeing. Parenting time restrictions may include a reduction of parenting time, supervised visits, or, in rare cases, the total elimination of the parent’s parenting time.     

Can a Parent Lose His or Her Parental Rights?

Some parents voluntarily give up their parental rights to allow the child to be adopted. However, parents may also lose their parental rights by being declared “unfit.” Before a parent is deemed unfit, the party seeking to have the parent’s parental rights terminated will need to show “clear and convincing evidence” that the parent has done or falls in line with one or more of the following:

  • Abandoned the child

  • Repeatedly neglected the child

  • Physically abused the child

  • Failed to protect the child from danger

  • Failed to provide for the child’s basic needs

  • Failed to maintain a reasonable concern for the child

  • Was convicted of certain criminal offense such as murder and sexual assault

  • Has a substance abuse problem that leaves him or her unable to perform parenting duties

  • Has a cognitive or mental health condition that renders him or her unable to perform parenting duties

Contact a Chicago Parental Rights Attorney

Cook County family lawyer George J. Skuros provides skilled legal representation and guidance for a range of parenting concerns. For help establishing paternity, allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time, forming a parenting plan, defending your parental rights, and much more, contact The Law Office of George J. Skuros. Call our office for a free, confidential consultation at 312-884-1222.




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