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Kane County family lawyerIf you are going through a difficult divorce or trying to survive an emotional child custody battle, it can often seem like there is no end in sight. But the situation can be far worse if your spouse is abusive to your child. Signs of abuse may not be clear when you are married and together as a family, perhaps because you are always around to keep an eye on improper behavior, but once your co-parent is alone with your child after the divorce, it may be important to stay alert for signs that different forms of child abuse might be occurring. From there, you can take the appropriate actions to protect your child.

Be Aware of Different Kinds of Child Abuse

Child abuse occurs when a child’s physical or emotional health, development, or well-being are put into jeopardy. It can take many different forms, and the signs are not always immediately obvious. Some types of abuse that you should be aware of include:

  1. Physical Abuse—This includes various forms of physical assault, restraint, and other behavior that puts the child in serious danger of physical injury to their body.

Presenting Evidence of Child Abuse by Co-Parent

Posted on in Child Abuse

Presenting Evidence of Child AbuseYou must act decisively to protect your child if you suspect that your co-parent is abusing your child or allowing someone else to abuse him or her. It may be necessary for you to take sole responsibility for your child until your co-parent can show that your child will be safe around him or her. However, a family court will not take away all of your co-parent’s rights and responsibilities unless you can provide convincing evidence of the abuse. You must establish that the abuse is occurring, that your co-parent is responsible, and that giving you sole responsibility for your child is in his or her best interest:

  1. Physical Evidence: You may suspect child abuse if your child is injured after returning from a visit with your co-parent. Your child may be afraid to tell you that your co-parent caused the injury, but you should be suspicious if your child cannot give a plausible explanation for the injury. If you believe your co-parent is responsible for the abuse, you should document it by taking pictures of visible injuries and visiting your child’s pediatrician.
  2. Child Behavior: Children experiencing physical or emotional abuse often show they are upset by behaving differently. Your child may react to the abuse by behaving violently, becoming withdrawn, regressing emotionally, or showing an unusual interest in topics such as sex. A child therapist can identify whether your child’s behavior may be linked to abuse.
  3. Witnesses: You should ask family members, neighbors and other people around your children whether they have seen your co-parent behave abusively towards your child. Witnesses may not have seen the actual abuse, but they can testify that they saw your co-parent behaving aggressively or inappropriately towards your child. Be aware that some people will feel uncomfortable testifying against your co-parent if they have a close relationship with him or her.
  4. Character Background: Your co-parent may have a history of abusive or violent behavior that makes your child abuse claim more plausible. You should present your co-parent’s criminal record to the court and recount your own relationship with him or her.

Parenting Battle

In order to obtain sole responsibility for your children, you must prove your parental fitness as well as your co-parent’s unfitness. The court must believe that your children will be safe and cared for with you as their only parent. A Kane County family law attorney at Goostree Law Group can explain why giving you sole parental responsibilities is in the best interest of your children. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.


DCFS Investigations and Child Custody

Posted on in Child Abuse

DCFS-investigationIn Illinois, reports of child abuse and neglect are handled by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Allegations of child abuse and neglect are taken very seriously. All calls to the department are screened by trained social workers who can determine the correct action to take – not all calls warrant full in-home investigations. But when a report is made about an individual or family, that call is recorded and can haunt the parent in future interactions with the court and his or her former partner.

If you have had to interact with DCFS in any way, whether you were the subject of a report or you have had to report your former partner, tell your attorney. This will have an impact on your child custody or visitation order and your attorney will be able to determine the steps you need to make to ensure that that impact is a productive, healthy one.

Your Custody Order Could be Changed

Who Is a Mandated Reporter?

Posted on in Child Abuse

mandated-reporterMany individuals who work or interact with children are mandated reporters. This means that as part of their positions, they are required to report any suspicions of child abuse or neglect to the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS). These individuals are held to this responsibility by the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act. Having DCFS investigate a report of suspected child abuse or neglect involving you can be at best, embarrassing and frustrating. At worst, it can be used to permanently alter you child custody or visitation order. Preserve your relationship with your child by having your case fairly represented in court by an experienced family attorney.

Mandated Reporters Include the Following:

Most individuals who work in health care, social work, education, and law enforcement are mandated reporters under Illinois law. The list of positions that require individuals to report cases of suspected child neglect and abuse included in the law is fairly exhaustive and includes, but is not limited to, the following positions:

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