How Could Domestic Abuse Affect Parental Rights?

abuse, Rolling Meadows family law attorneyDomestic abuse is a serious problem in this country. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 10 million women and men are abused by a romantic partner every year. This works out to an average of almost 20 incidents every minute. Many of the couples affected by domestic violence have children. In fact, one in every 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year. Children are deeply affected by witnessing domestic violence, and exposure to it may cause them serious anxiety, fear, sadness or even guilt.

In Illinois parental responsibility proceedings—formerly called child custody—every effort is made to make decisions which are in the child’s best interest. Therefore, most courts will not order a child to live with or have visitation with a consistently abusive parent. However, if this abuse is not known to the court or is not documented, the courts may allow arrangements that place the child in danger. This is why it is important for each parent to notify the court about any issues involving either parent that relate to domestic violence or protective orders.

Emergency Orders of Protection

If you are currently in an abusive environment, do not hesitate to seek help. If you are in immediate danger, call the police. If you are currently safe but fear what will happen in the future, you should apply for an emergency order of protection. An order of protection is a court order that prohibits your abuser from contacting you or your children among other restrictions that could be enforced.

If your spouse is found to present a serious danger to your children by the court, he or she may be completely denied parenting time rights. Other times, a judge will allow parenting time but will take other steps to keep the child and the other parent safe. For example, a judge may order that your address remain confidential from the abusive parent or that parenting time take place at a public place. Sometimes, abusive parents are allowed to communicate with a child through the phone or email but not face-to-face. In cases of extreme abuse, the court may terminate parental rights altogether.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Parental Responsibilities Attorney

At Cosley Law Office, we realize the toll that domestic abuse can take on a family. If domestic violence has affected your family and you are thinking about filing for a divorce, contact an experienced, compassionate Arlington Heights family lawyer right away. Our firm will help you obtain an order of protection and work with you in securing your safety and that of your children. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable team today.



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