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The Effects of Domestic Violence on Parental Rights

 Posted on August 03, 2017 in Domestic Violence

Illinois family law attorneyDomestic violence is, unfortunately, a constant concern for those in the family court system, as any evidence of wrongdoing must be carefully weighed not only in terms of an acceptable separation agreement but also any acceptable custody arrangement if there are children involved. While abusive parents should not be permitted unlimited or unsupervised access to their children, Illinois courts do prefer to preserve the child’s relationship with both parents if at all possible. This results in a careful balancing of interests.

What Is Abuse?

Illinois defines abuse specifically as “physical punishment, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, or interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.” Parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities, formerly called physical and legal custody, are not automatically granted—especially not to parents with a history of spousal abuse or child abuse. However, Illinois courts tend to favor the idea that children benefit the most when they have both parents in their lives. If need be, judges have no qualms about restricting parenting time or that parent’s ability to make decisions about their children’s well-being, but abuse will only be one factor considered among many.

If, for example, a parent was convicted of child abuse, but served their sentence, completed treatment, and has not engaged in any kind of suspect behavior since, a judge might be more inclined to give that parent more responsibilities. In comparison, a parent with multiple counts of child abuse and domestic violence with no treatment completed and an unrepentant attitude may lose their parental rights altogether. Like many other situations of this nature, the court will consider multiple factors before determining where a child may spend their formative years.

Orders of Protection

In Illinois, parenting time and responsibilities can also be affected by orders of protection. Emergency Orders of Protection can be issued quickly by completing an affidavit and appearing before a judge to testify of the danger in question. Such an order can last for up to 21 days and may grant a host of protections, including:

  • Prohibiting your abuser from entering your home, place of work or any place where you have business;
  • Ordering the abuser to pay child support;
  • Granting you possession of enough assets to support yourself and your children; and
  • Any other provision that a judge thinks is necessary to safeguard your family.

While your emergency order is in effect, you will be asked to attend a hearing with your abuser to testify as to any violence, and the judge will make a decision on whether or not to make the order permanent. If it is made permanent and your abuser violates its terms, he or she may go to jail for up to a year, as well as face permanent loss of parental rights and other penalties.

Seek Experienced Assistance

If you or your children have experienced family violence, your safety should be your primary concern. Contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney to get the help you need. Call 630-352-2240 for a free, confidential consultation at Pesce Law Group, P.C. today.


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