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 Your child may react to the abuse by behaving violently, becoming withdrawn, regressing emotionally, or showing an unusual interest in topics such as sex.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

Kane County family law attorneysDivorced and unmarried parents often face a number of important decisions when determining how to structure parenting arrangements for their children. You may be aware that recent changes to the law in Illinois have increased focus on cooperative parenting agreements and joint parenting plans. While cooperative parenting is great in theory, the reality is often much different. In many cases, it may still be appropriate for one parent to pursue sole responsibility for important decision-making, the amended version of what was once called sole custody.

New Terminology, Similar Responsibilities

For many years, the state of Illinois recognized two distinct types of arrangement for child custody: sole custody and joint custody. Each referred to the concept of legal custody, meaning the authority to make decisions regarding a child’s life and upbringing. A parent with sole custody was responsible for making all important decisions, while parents with joint custody would need to make such decisions together.

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Posted on in Child Custody

b2ap3_thumbnail_sole-custody.jpgSole custody of your child means that you alone are responsible for his or her well being. There are two types of custody that you can have of your child: physical and legal.

Physical custody refers to where the child lives – if you have sole physical custody of your child, he or she lives in your home full-time rather than spending an allotted amount of time in his or her other parent's home each week or month. Legal custody refers to the right to make financial, medical, and lifestyle decisions for your child. These decisions include your child's healthcare and the religion in which he or she is raised.

As a parent, it is possible to have sole physical custody and joint legal custody, or any other combination of sole and shared custody with your child's other parent. When you have sole physical and legal custody of your child, you are responsible for meeting all of his or her needs. Your former partner may have visitation with the child, which is an amount of time set aside each week, month, or on another timetable for them to spend together.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, non-custodial, parental rights, shared parenting,Child custody can be complicated. You can potentially go from spending every day with your child, fully immersed in every moment of his or her life, to seeing him or her once a week and having to comply with your former partner's decisions regarding his or her care after your divorce.

This is why it is so important to understand every element that goes into a custody decision and how the court's ruling can dictate the level of involvement you have with your child. Every custody arrangement is unique and the court does its best to tailor each one to the best interest of the child in question, as required by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

Factors that the court considers when developing child custody arrangements can include each parent's income and spousal maintenance obligation, the relationship the child has with each of his or her parents, and the child's relationships with any other members of each household. You can learn more about how custody arrangements are developed by talking with an experienced family attorney before going to court to work out your child's arrangement.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, parental rights, Not every parent is awarded joint custody with his or her former partner. In cases where one parent is awarded sole physical custody of his or her child, the other parent is often awarded visitation rights. Visitation rights are different from custodial rights in a few ways. A parent with physical custody of his or her child lives with the child at least part of the time. A parent with visitation rights spends time with the child, but the child is not a resident in the parent's home. Legal custody is the other part of a custody agreement. Legal custody allows a parent to make decisions for his or her child regarding the child's education, lifestyle, and medical care. A parent may have joint legal custody and sole physical custody, sole physical and legal custody, joint legal and physical custody, or sole legal custody and joint physical custody. The combination of custody forms that a parent has to his or her child is determined by the court according to the child's best interest.

When a parent has visitation rights to his or her child, the court may place restrictions on these rights. Like other decisions regarding a child's custody, these restrictions are in place to keep the child safe. Some examples of restrictions the court may place on a parent's visits with his or her child include:

  • Barring the parent from using alcohol or other drugs while with the child;
  • Requiring that the visits do not occur in the parent's home;
  • Requiring that the visits occur in the custodial parent's home;
  • Barring the child from staying with the parent overnight; or
  • Requiring that a third party supervise the visits.

Can A Grandparent Be Granted Visitation Rights?

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