As a parent, the decision to file for divorce is problematic because it comes with the possibility of not getting physical custody of a child. Noncustodial parents usually have the right to visitation and parenting time with their children. However, the court may restrict parenting time under certain circumstances.
When can the court restrict parenting time?
The court may deny or restrict parenting time to one parent if they believe that they will endanger the child’s mental, moral or physical health. Some of the factors that the court considers before restricting or eliminating parenting time are:
- If the parent abused, neglected or abandoned the child
- If the parent allowed someone else to abuse the child
- If the parent uses drugs, alcohol or another substance
- If the parent interferes with the other parent’s access to the child
- If the parent is on parole, probation, conditional discharge or supervisory release for a sexual offense perpetrated upon someone less than 18 years old
- If the parent had a first-degree murder conviction
The court will also look at these factors if they had already granted the parenting time, but the other parent asked to modify the child custody order.
Ways in which the court can modify parenting time
Sometimes, the court can reduce parenting time as well as eliminate it. For example, parents who have a sex crime or first-degree murder conviction will not have visitation or parenting time rights. Besides eliminating or reducing the time a parent can spend with their kids, the court can also ask for some conditions regarding parenting time:
- Requiring the exchange of the child between the parents through an intermediary
- Restraining a parent’s communication with the other parent
- Requiring a parent to abstain from possessing or consuming alcohol during parenting time
- Restricting the presence of specific persons while the parent spends time with the child
- Requiring a parent to post a bond to secure the return of the child to the other parent
- Requiring a parent to complete a treatment program for drug or alcohol abuse
The court can also impose other conditions that they deem necessary for the child’s safety.
Changing the parenting time restriction
Nothing is set in stone, and a parent who had parenting time restrictions can change the court’s order. To modify an existing order, the parent must prove to the court that there has been a change of circumstances, like completing a rehabilitation program. That way, parents can see their children even if they had made some mistakes in the past. People can change, and so can the restriction orders.