Your Family Matters

What are my options if my child’s other parent is abusive?

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2022 | family law

Many Illinois courts prefer to allocate parental responsibilities and award parent time so that both parents get a chance to have a meaningful relationship with their children, even it if the parents have decided to live apart.

Usually, this arrangement works best in a custody and parenting time case. It keeps both parents happy and involved, and it can make a divorce or other parental split easier on the parents’ children.

However, there are some situations in which it would be dangerous to let one parent have a lot of involvement in his children’s lives.

An example is when this parent has engaged in abusive behavior, including domestic violence.

Like in other states, Illinois judges may consider evidence of violence and abuse when allocating parental responsibilities or helping parents come up with a parenting time schedule.

This is a part of a judge’s decision-making process when determining the best interests of the children involved in a custody case.

What constitutes abuse or violence is fairly broad and can include past behavior. However, the parent’s alleged abuse or violence has to have some bearing on her relationship with her child.

In serious cases, a judge may restrict a parent’s parenting time

Illinois judges also have the power to restrict a parent’s time with his children if his behavior could significantly harm them. Restrictions can include supervised visits, mandatory counseling or orders keeping certain third parties away from the children.

While violence and abuse certainly are dangerous to children, a parent will still have to prove her case in court if she chooses to ask for restricted parenting time. Judges in the Springfield area may be naturally reluctant to keep a parent away from the children without good reasons.

Still, a parent who has honest concerns about the other’s parent’s ability to be around his children safely does have legal options and may want to explore them.

The parent also has the right to be free from ongoing abuse at the hands of the other parent.