call us630-584-4800

Free Consultations

Protecting Your Children from a Dangerous Co-Parent

Posted on in Child Custody

Protecting Your ChildrenThe equal right to parental responsibilities after a divorce assumes that the children will be safe with both parents. Unfortunately, some divorced parents put their children in danger because of their personal behavior and lifestyle choices, such as substance abuse or frequent partying. It is your responsibility to protect your child if you have reason to believe that your co-parent is a threat to your children’s safety. You may need to file a court order to change the allocation of parental responsibilities. However, you must present evidence of your co-parent’s dangerous behavior.

Forms of Danger

It is not enough to say that your co-parent has a drinking problem or behaves recklessly. You must focus on how your co-parent’s actions are putting your children in danger. There are clear ways to connect your co-parent’s irresponsible behavior with his or her parenting ability, such as:

  • Abusive behavior due to substance abuse;
  • Putting your children in a dangerous situation, such as driving under the influence;
  • Exposing your children to harmful influences; or
  • Neglecting your children.

Presenting Evidence

You may discover your co-parent’s irresponsible behavior by talking to your children or noticing a change in their own behavior or appearance. However, you may need more evidence to prove that your co-parent is a danger to your children. Consider the following factors:

  • Did your co-parent struggle with substance abuse during your marriage?;
  • Does your co-parent have a criminal record or any ongoing criminal charges against him or her?;
  • Did someone witness your co-parent’s behavior, and would that witness be willing to testify?;
  • Have your children shown any physical signs of abuse or neglect, and did you visit a doctor soon afterward to document that evidence?; and
  • How would you describe your co-parent’s behavior during your interactions?

Parenting Options

Your children are not safe with your co-parent if he or she is abusive or neglectful towards them during his or her parenting time. A court can limit your former spouse’s parental responsibilities, including giving you sole responsibility for the children, if it agrees with this assessment. In some situations, an unfit parent may receive limited and supervised time with the children. However, your co-parent would not regain the right to parenting time alone with your children until your co-parent proves that he or she can be a responsible parent.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

You should mention during your divorce whether you reasonably fear that your children may not be safe with your spouse. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can explain to the court why you need a greater share of parental responsibilities. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.


Last modified on
Back to Top