If you have a shared custody agreement in Illinois, dealing with an uncooperative co-parent can be exhausting. It can be especially frustrating if he or she disregards the time agreements in your parenting plan.
Under Illinois law, parenting time abuse is illegal, and if the situation warrants it, you can petition both a civil and criminal court to hear your case.
Understanding parenting time abuse
Parenting time abuse, under state law, is when a parent “has not complied with allocated parenting time according to an approved parenting plan or court order.” Small offenses may be worth forgiving, but if the problem you are facing is chronic and disruptive, you may petition the court.
In your petition, you will need to include the exact terms of your parenting plan that the other parent is disregarding, the exact instances and details of the violations and an accounting of the efforts you have made to resolve the dispute peacefully. The more detail you include, the better, and adding corroborating evidence and time stamps will only help your case.
Be careful when petitioning the court, however, that you can demonstrate the parenting abuse with clear and convincing evidence. If a court rules in your favor, they will most likely order the other parent to pay your legal fees. But you bring a claim without sufficient evidence of wrongdoing, the court may order you to pay the other parent’s legal fees, instead.
Understanding the consequences
If a court finds a parent guilty of parenting time abuse, he or she can face both corrective and punitive action. To resolve the dispute, a court may order counseling or parental education, makeup parenting time to even the score or even civil fines and reimbursement of inconveniences the other parent incurred as a result of the offenses. In some cases, a judge will find a noncompliant parent in contempt of court, a very serious offense.
As punitive measures, a court may suspend the offending parent’s driver’s license, put him or her on probation or issue a petty offense conviction with a fine of up to $500 per instance of parenting time abuse. In rare cases, a court may even order jail time for the offender.