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Ordinarily, in an Illinois divorce or paternity case, a father who is not awarded custody is granted visitation with his children. In fact, Illinois Statute places a heavy burden on a custodial parent who seeks to have the other parent’s visitation supervised. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that a non-custodial parent is entitled to reasonable visitation unless "that visitation would endanger seriously the child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health." Without such a finding, a judge is prohibited from restricting visitation. Furthermore, any requirement for supervision of visitation "must meet the serious-endangerment standard." See re Marriage of Ross, 355 Ill.App.3d 1162, 824 N.E.2d 1108 (5th Dist. 2005).
However, there are many times when Illinois courts do order supervised visitation.
Who then becomes the supervisor when an Illinois court orders supervised visitation?
The court frequently permits parties to mutually select a neutral person. The supervising person may be a relative or friend, such as a grandparent, uncle, or cousin, and is dependent upon the agreement of both parents.
Relative or Family Friend
There are advantages to agreeing upon a relative or family friend. He or she may not charge for time spent supervising, and is also well known to both parties. The downside, however, is that it may be difficult for a relative or family friend, who has a full-time job or his or her own family to take care of, to juggle his or her schedule for enough time for the visiting parent's supervised visitation. In this case, it may be necessary for the parties to select a professional.
The DuPage County Family Center provides free services for families who live apart, including supervisors for visitation. Visits must be established by court order of the DuPage Court. At the present time there is a waiting list, so interested parties will need to check with the DuPage County family center to be placed on the list.
If the parties cannot agree upon a person to appoint to supervise the visitation, or cannot use a free service due to the long wait on a waiting list, they may ask the court to appoint a professional supervisor provided by a private company. Private companies who provide supervisors for visitation usually offer a variety of services. Their prices vary; therefore, it is important to explore the options.
Family Solutions, Inc. is company that provides supervisors in DuPage, Cook Lake, Kane, Kendall and Will Counties. Their hourly rate is $75 dollars per hour.
Private Professionals Who Provide Supervision
A wide range of professionals provide supervision services, such as psychologists and social workers. One example is Ms. Laura Gron, an Illinois social worker with Head Start. Ms. Gron has worked with Head Start for 24 years in DuPage County and Will County, and has also worked with families in Illinois for 14 years with Catholic Charities. Her hourly rate is $35 hour plus travel. Ms. Gron can be reached at via email at Lgron@comcast.net or by telephone at 630-464-5181.
It is most important to not be discouraged if your visitation is supervised. Many times supervised visitation is a stepping stone to normal visitation. If you are going through a divorce and are in the process of establishing custody or visitation, our experienced Hinsdale custody and visitation attorneys can help. Call us today to schedule a consultation.