At What Age Can a Child Refuse to See a Parent in Illinois?

At what age can a child refuse to see a parent in Illinois? This can be an important question to ask if you are an Illinois resident with a child custody agreement in place. Whether you're creating a parenting plan now or you're having issues with an agreement that's already in place, working with a Naperville family law attorney is crucial. An experienced and qualified child custody attorney can provide adequate legal advice on how to navigate your case.

At what age can a child refuse to see a parent in Illinois?

Understanding Child Custody Laws in Illinois

While there is no specified age at which a child can refuse to see a parent in Illinois, this doesn't mean it's legal for them to make their own decisions on their custody. It is important to be aware of the varying child custody laws in Illinois to ensure you and your child follow your agreement properly. Some important concepts to be aware of include:

  • The best interest of the child will be the largest determining factor in every child custody arrangement.
  • An unmarried mother will keep sole custody of the child unless paternity can be legally established.
  • Custody can be awarded in the form of sole custody or joint custody. This means it can either be shared between parents, or one parent will receive sole rights over their child.
  • If parents can come to an agreement on how they will share parenting responsibilities, they can create a parenting plan outside of court. This will just need to be approved by a judge.

Parenting Plans

A parenting plan is a document that outlines how each parent will maintain their responsibilities and how they make important decisions regarding their child's interests. A parenting plan should include:

  • The Rights and Responsibilities of Each Parent. The responsibilities of each parent and their specific rights must be outlined in a parenting plan to ensure no disputes over the child arise.
  • How Decisions Will Be Made. This can include decisions regarding education, health, religious activities, and extracurricular and recreational activities. For example, one parent may need to ask for the other parent's approval before making one of these decisions.
  • Parenting Time. A parenting schedule will also need to be included in the plan. It is important to outline who will maintain custody during weekends, holidays, school breaks, etc.

Modifying a Child Custody Arrangement in Illinois

If you have a court-ordered child custody agreement in place and your child refuses to see their other parent, then you may need to consider modifying the agreement. Some of the most common reasons for modifying a child custody agreement can include:

  • A Change in Circumstances. A change in circumstances can include a distinct change in behavior, a serious illness, a substantial move, etc.
  • Child Endangerment. A motion can be filed if you believe that your child's physical, mental, or emotional health is in danger.

If your child refuses to see the other parent, then it's important that you listen to them and gain an understanding of why they feel that way. If your child is truly unhappy or uncomfortable with your current custody agreement, then you should consider modifying your custody order if applicable.


Q: What If My Child Doesn't Want to Visit Their Father?

A: In Illinois, along with most other states, children under the age of 18 are not legally permitted to disobey a court order unless they are legally emancipated. If your child does not want to visit their father, you should still do everything in your power to get them to cooperate, especially if those are the terms of the court-ordered parenting agreement. Illinois state law will hold that custodial parents are not permitted to disregard parenting time requirements.

Q: Can a Child Refuse to Go With a Parent in Illinois?

A: There are legal ramifications that may occur if a child refuses to go with their parent in Illinois. Generally speaking, the child will not be penalized, but the custodial parent can be. This only occurs when one parent can prove that the custodial parent discouraged the child from visitation. Parents following a custody arrangement are expected to promote, encourage, and facilitate reasonable visitations.

Q: What Age Can a Child Decide to Stop Visitation in Illinois?

A: There is no specified age at which a child can make the decision to stop visitation in Illinois. If a child wishes to stop visitation, then a parent must file to modify the child custody agreement. If it is no longer in the best interest of the child, then a judge may agree to modify the arrangement and adjust it how they see fit. Child custody can be difficult to understand under Illinois state law, so it's essential that you work closely with an adept lawyer.

Q: What Makes a Parent Unfit in Illinois?

A: A parent may be deemed unfit in Illinois if they display dangerous parenting practices. Dangerous parenting practices can include abandoning the child, neglecting the child, failing to attend to the child's well-being, failing to protect the child from adverse conditions, or repeatedly failing to provide the child with proper food, water, and shelter. Additionally, if the parent has a criminal record, mental impairment, or illness that limits their ability to take adequate care of the child.

Legal Aid for Child Custody Cases in Illinois

Understanding child custody laws in Illinois can be difficult, especially without the help of an experienced attorney. There can be several nuances that parents and children may not be aware of. Additionally, it can be extremely challenging to handle the legalities of child custody while dealing with personal matters. No matter what kind of child custody issues you're dealing with, it's imperative that you hire a family lawyer who can help you through them.

The legal team at Vahey Law & Mediation, LLC is ready and able to provide legal assistance for those with questions about child custody. Our experienced legal team has helped individuals across the state of Illinois and is dedicated to navigating complex child custody cases. Contact our office today to speak with a team member about your potential legal options in a child custody case. Our lawyers are ready to provide you with the guidance you deserve.


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