In Illinois, visitation rights with children of married and unmarried parents is governed by 750 ILCS 5/607, and it is established using a “best interests” standard. A party seeking to restrict visitation must prove to the court that regular visitation would create a “serious endangerment” to the child.
In a recent divorce case I represented the father of two children. His wife also had a child from a prior relationship, and that child had no relationship with her biological father. After five years of marriage a divorce was filed and visitation was being established by the Court. However, the wife wanted to “force” the husband to take her child from the other relationship during his visitation with his biological children. The law does NOT allow the Court to Order that the husband had to take his “step child” for visitation, and his visitation with his biological children could not be held hostage by his wife’s demands. What is interesting though is that Illinois law would have allowed the husband to Petition to take the step child for visitation if he wanted to IF he could demonstrate that the visitation would be in the best interests of the child. Therefore, the Illinois child visitation law as it is written gives the step father (and any third party) rights if it is in the best interests of the child. Being a good parent and step parent, my client agreed (without a Court Order) to have parenting time with his step child both with and without his biological children being present. You can learn more here. Real people, real cases, real results.