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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 Your child may react to the abuse by behaving violently, becoming withdrawn, regressing emotionally, or showing an unusual interest in topics such as sex.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.


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Proving Emotional Abuse When Determining Allocation of Parental ResponsibilitiesThe legal definition of domestic abuse is not limited to physical attacks. A spouse or parent can verbally abuse others through harassing and demeaning behavior. Examples of emotional abuse include:

  • Insults;
  • Foul Language;
  • Threats;
  • Intimidation; and
  • Words meant to humiliate or isolate someone.

During a divorce, one parent may argue that the other parent is abusive and should have limited time with their children. Even without a criminal conviction, the court can consider a parent’s abusive nature in determining the allocation of parental responsibilities. However, emotional abuse is more abstract than physical abuse because there are no visible injuries. You must plan how you will present your evidence in order to prove that your spouse is emotionally abusive.


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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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Posted on in Child Custody

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, parental rights,A Missouri mother whose teenaged son became a temporary ward of Illinois after a local judge found that she interfered with his medical treatment is fighting back. She has rallied support from Missouri lawmakers, who are considering legislation that would protect guardians from abuse charges when they seek a second opinion from a licensed health care provider and follow that provider’s treatment advice.

The Illinois court’s decision to place the Missouri teen in temporary protective custody due to alleged child medical neglect is not the first – or last – of its kind (although the fact that Illinois is not the teen’s home state does distinguish his case from some of the others). Similar cases have appeared elsewhere across the United States. For example, the Connecticut Supreme Court recently held that the state can require a 17-year-old girl to receive chemotherapy treatment.

The Connecticut case involves a single mother whose daughter refused to continue treatment for a terminal type of cancer. While the mother believed that her daughter was mature enough to make that decision for herself, state officials disagreed. The teenager is now a temporary ward of the state and is receiving chemotherapy treatments against her wishes.

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Posted on in Adoption

Illinios legislature, Illinios family law attorney, Illinios child protection laws, Every year the Illinois legislature passes new laws that affect the rights and obligations of state citizens. There are nine new Illinois family-related laws for 2015:

  1. Sixteen-year-olds can be placed in temporary custody with the Department of Children and Family Services for delinquency (committing minor crimes). The age threshold used to be 15 years old.
  2. Amendments to the Child Care and Adoption Act address civil unions and expand the definition of “relative” to include great-grandparents, step-grandparents and cousins.
  3. There is now a Statewide Youth Advisory Board and regional youth advisory board to advise the Department of Children and Family Services on foster services.
  4. Amendments to the Adoption Act provide that an adult adopted person’s birth parent who is named on the original birth certificate may only request a non-certified copy if he or she complies with certain procedural requirements.
  5. The Children’s Advocacy Center Act created accredited children’s advocacy centers throughout Illinois that are responsible for investigating child sexual abuse cases. Amendments to this law expanded their authority to child maltreatment cases. “Child maltreatment” includes certain criminal offenses committed against children and specific violations of the Children and Family Services Act and the Juvenile Court Act.
    1. Children and Family Services Act created the Department of Children and Family Services, which provides social services to Illinois children and their families.
    2. The Juvenile Court Act provides protections to children who are the subject of court proceedings, such as in child custody cases or in instances where children act as witnesses.
  6. Amendments to the Probate Act imposed additional requirements on guardianship petitions for adults with disabilities. For example, the report accompanying the petition must include more information about the people who evaluate the disabled person (to ensure that the evaluation they performed is credible).
  7. The Children and Family Services Act requires the Department of Children and Family Services to provide certain data in its annual report and case tracking system regarding families that are subject to safety plans, and to track specific safety plans.
  8. Amendments to the Child Care Act require the Department of Children and Family Services to provide the Illinois General Assembly with an annual progress report.
  9. Amendments to the Children and Family Services Act allow the Department of Children and Family Services to place children with “fictive kin,” who do not have to become foster parents. “Fictive kin” are people who have close ties to the children or families but are not blood relatives or related by marriage.
Our experienced Kane County family law attorneys keep abreast of changes to Illinois and federal family laws. Contact us today for a consultation if you have any questions regarding your rights and obligations under these new laws. We can assist those in the St. Charles area.
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