Orders of Protection and Parenting Time Questions

parenting time, Rolling Meadows family lawyerDomestic violence is sadly an all too common occurrence in this day and age. It can destroy lives and families. Besides its obvious dangers, it can also cause significant, long-lasting harm to the children of families who go through it. Allegations of domestic violence are taken extremely seriously considering parental responsibility and parenting time questions. If you have been the victim of domestic violence, you may be able to show that your abusive spouse should have no further contact with your children, even in a situation where they would otherwise have co-parenting rights.

Illinois Definition

Illinois defines domestic violence as not only physically injuring a family member (whether they are related by blood, marriage, or adoption), but also “interfering with personal liberty,” in situations such as kidnapping or false imprisonment. When there are children involved, there is even more of a zero tolerance policy than there would be otherwise. The Illinois legislature actually holds, as a matter of policy, that cases of domestic violence involving children are generally to be handled with special consideration.

While an abuser may be convicted on criminal charges or be assessed civil penalties for domestic violence, it does not immediately create any kind of presumption in favor of the abused spouse in a divorce proceeding. Illinois law prevents any discussion of marital misconduct in that regard, and both spouses start from essentially a clean slate.

Impact on Parental Rights

When one spouse files for divorce, the judge must be notified as to any potential violence or abuse concerns, including any existing Orders of Protection. Depending on the situation, if  a divorce proceeding begins with an Plenary Order of Protection in place, a rebuttable presumption maybe established immediately that the child or children would be better off not living with or having any time with the abusive parent. This is the case even if documented abuse has occurred only toward the spouse and not toward the children. Previous cases in Illinois have set a precedent for this. Most of the time, the courts begin with the exact opposite presumption – that a child benefits most from having both parents in their life – but if abuse has been documented, this is no longer the case.

If the divorce begins while an Emergency Order of Protection or an Interim Order of Protection is in place, the remaining hearings on the protective orders must be addressed before considerations can be made regarding parental responsibilities or parenting time.

Depending on the situation, however, parenting time may still be granted even if an Order of Protection is in place to safeguard an abused spouse. Additional protections are likely to be added, including:

  • Keeping your residence confidential from your abuser by requiring the children be exchanged in a public place;
  • Ordering “electronic communication” instead of physical visitation; and
  • Mandating supervised visitation, either at a supervised visitation agency or with a family member or friend.

Documenting any episodes of abuse is important in protecting your children. Police reports, witness testimony, medical records, and reports of protective order violations may combine to result in a ruling in your favor.

Contact a Domestic Violence Attorney Today

Abuse is a frightening situation to be in, and for most parents, protecting their children is a top priority. While there are no guarantees in the application of the law, the more information you provide, the safer you and your children are likely to be. The dedicated Rolling Meadows family law attorneys at Cosley Law Office will work hard to ensure that your safety and that of your children are protected. Contact us today for a free consultation.





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