New Illinois Law for Unlawful Visitation or Parenting Time Interference
DuPage Child Visitation and Custody
Many parents and children in the state of Illinois could be impacted by a new law (720 ILCS 5/10-5.5) regarding unlawful visitation and parenting time interference. When parents are in dispute over the custody or visitation of a child, a court will issue an order establishing the terms of visitation, parenting time and custody time. Under Illinois statutes (750 ILCS 5/602), when a court approves a visitation agreement, it is guided first and foremost by the best interest of the child.
The new Illinois law concerns persons who violate any term of such child custody-related court orders by detaining or concealing a kid with the intention of depriving an individual of his or her visitation rights, or rights to parenting or custodial time. Under the new law, persons committing such violations thereby commit what is known as unlawful visitation or parenting time interference.
Nature of the Offense in Illinois
For first time offenders, unlawful visitation or parenting time interference is a minor offense. However, individuals with two prior convictions who violate the new law will be charged with a class A misdemeanor, an offense that can be punished by up to one year in the county jail and a fine of $2500.
Under the new law, any officer of the law who holds probable cause to assume that an individual has committed the offense of unlawful visitation or parenting time interference must issue a notice to that individual to appear in court. Probable cause is a legal term that means reasonable suspicion.
Contents of Notice
The notice issued by a law enforcement officer must be in writing, present the name and address of the individual, and describe the offense, possess the officer’s signature, and request the individual to show up before a court at a certain place and time.
Consequences of a Failure to Appear
Upon receiving a notice to appear by a law enforcement officer, the person must appear, or a summons or arrest warrant may be supplied.
Illinois Unlawful Visitation or Parenting Time Interference Defenses
There are three affirmative defenses to unlawful visitation or parenting time interference in Illinois. In making an affirmative defense, the accused contends that they were legally justified in taking a course of action that would otherwise constitute an offense.
Under the new law, it is an affirmative defense to the offense of unlawful visitation or parenting time interference if an individual performed the act to prevent the kid from sustaining injury, so long as that person’s presumption that there was imminent physical harm was within reason and that the defendant’s actions of withholding rights to visitation, or parenting or custody time was also within reason regarding the threat of harm.
Secondly, it is an affirmative defense to unlawful visitation or parenting time interference if the action was taken with the agreement of everyone that had a right to visitation, custody, or parenting time with the kid.
Finally, it is an affirmative defense if the act was otherwise lawful. An experienced family law attorney will be invaluable in determining whether or not this third category is applicable to given set of facts.
Protect Your Illinois Child Visitation Rights
Have you and your child been the victim of unlawful visitation or parenting time interference? Are you concerned how the new Illinois law will affect your child custody rights? The experienced Wheaton family lawyers at Mulyk Laho Law, LLC can answer your child custody-related questions, and use their skill and commitment to protect your rights concerning what matters most to you. Put an end to unlawful visitation and parenting time interference by contacting our DuPage family lawyers today. Call 630-852-1100 or fill out the online contact form.