Illinois Unlawful Visitation Interference Law

Illinois Public Act 8896

This law became effective Jan. 1, 1994.


Unlawful visitation interference is now a criminal offence.


Section 5: The Criminal Code of 1961

(720ILCS 5/10-5.5 new)


Sec. 10-5.5 Unlawful visitation interference


Every person who, in violation of visitation provisions of a court order relating to child custody, detains or conceals a child with the intent to deprive another person of his or her rights to visitation shall be guilty of unlawful visitation interference.


A person committing unlawful visitation interference is guilty of a petty offense. However, a person violating this Section after 2 prior convictions of unlawful visitation interference is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.


Any law enforcement officer who has probable cause to believe that a person has committed or is committing an act in violation of this Section SHALL issue to that person a notice to appear.


It is an affirmative defense that:


1. A person or lawful custodian committed the act to protect the child from imminent physical harm, provided that the defendant’s belief that there was physical harm imminent was reasonable and that the defendant’s conduct in withholding visitation rights was a reasonable response to the harm believed imminent;


It is an affirmative defense that:

2. The act was committed with the mutual consent of all parties having a right to custody and visitation of the child; or


It is an affirmative defense that:

3. The act was otherwise authorized by law.


A person convicted of unlawful visitation interference shall not be subject to a civil contempt citation for the same conduct for violating visitation provisions of a court order issued under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

Important Note: The law refers to a 3rd offence being a Class A Misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are punishable by fine and incarceration.


This law stops parents from abusing children by using them as weapons against the other parent, usually mothers violating court orders for children to be with the father.

This law recognizes that fathers are important in children's lives, that court orders supporting children's time with both parents should be respected and enforced. It further aims to reduce family violence by taking away the visitation issue as a weapon for the custodial parent.

With the growing rate of divorce, substantial police resources are spent on situations dealing with, what until now, was a civil matter. This law reduces police resources spent on child visitation incidents and reduces stress for both children and their parents. One large Canadian police

Making the non-custodial parent go back to court and spend thousands of dollars to try to have a court order for visitation enforced, usually with little support for the enforcement by the courts, is a form of Family Violence. This is often a weapon used by women on Legal Aid. They plan to punish their ex husband because they view him to be in a superior financial position and they have been told by their lawyer that the courts will do little since they are the custodial parent. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled recently that it is the welfare of the children is paramount.

Children have the right to a relationship with both parents as supported by law and the order of the court.

Using children as weapons in divorce and placing them in the middle of parent disputes is child abuse, usually perpetrated by mothers.