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Domestic Violence Can Affect Parenting Time

 Posted on June 09, 2017 in Domestic Violence

Lombard family law attorneyDomestic violence is one of the most common family issues in the United States today, unfortunately, and it has an especially pernicious effect on children. If a parent who has committed domestic violence is permitted to continue seeing his or her children, studies have shown that that child has a greater propensity to perpetuate violence in the future. The state of Illinois considers it a high priority to ensure that children are not exposed to such behavior, and as such, if your spouse has charges or convictions, you may be able to mount a serious challenge to their parental fitness.

Domestic Violence Defined

Illinois’ Domestic Violence Act (DVA) of 1986 defines domestic violence as abuse, both physical and otherwise, as well as “interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.” It also makes a point of identifying a victim as any family or household member, rather than just a spouse. Thus, the law encompasses spouses, but also family members related by blood, people who are (or were) dating or living together, and co-parents of a child who are unmarried. So, for example, if the mother or father of your child abuses you, the DVA still applies in your case, whether you are married or not.

Because of its expansive wording, the DVA also applies directly to children in some cases, rather than classifying them as secondary victims. If a child’s biological mother abuses him or her, this constitutes domestic violence under Illinois law, though the child may not be able to do certain things that most abuse victims are encouraged to do. For example, while minor children cannot apply for Orders of Protection, you may be able to do so on your child’s behalf. However, if you apply for an Order of Protection on your own behalf, you may include your children in the petition.

How It Affects Parenting Time

Generally, an Illinois judge will start from a presumption that a child should not have any contact with an abusive parent. While normally, family court judges go through a long list of factors in determining parenting time, the presence of abuse in the home carries significant weight that may outstrip the other factors in importance. Above all else, the judge may not make a decision that goes against the best interests of the child and their health, including physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Some judges do, however, grant limited parenting time to abusive parents, believing that if properly regulated, it can benefit a child more to have both parents in their life. If parenting time is granted, however, it is often supervised or strictly managed to prevent the possibility of harm to all. Parenting time may take place at a supervised facility, or the transfer of the children may occur in public, rather than at one parent’s home. The court will order whatever measures it sees fit (within reason) to ensure the safety and well-being of all involved.

Enlist a Parenting Time Attorney

Domestic violence is a serious matter, even more so when children are placed at risk. A good parent will put their children’s safety first, and in many cases, that means obtaining full custody. If you have questions about how domestic abuse could impact your case, contact a Lombard family law attorney. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation.



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