Domestic violence is a serious problem in this country. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 10 million women and men are abused by a romantic partner every year. This works out to an average of almost 20 incidents every minute. Many of the couples affected by domestic violence have children. In fact, 1 in every 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year. Children are deeply affected by witnessing domestic violence, and exposure to it may cause them serious anxiety, fear, sadness or even guilt.
In Illinois parental responsibility cases—formerly called child custody—every effort is made to make decisions which are in the child’s best interest. Therefore, most courts will not order a child to live with or have visitation with a consistently abusive parent. However, if this abuse is not known to the court or is not documented, the courts may allow arrangements that place the child in danger. This is why it is important for each parent to notify the judge of any issues involving either parent that relate to domestic violence or protective orders.
Emergency Orders of Protection
If you are currently in an abusive environment, do not hesitate to seek help. If you are in immediate danger, call the police. If you are currently safe but fear what will happen in the future, you should apply for an emergency order of protection. An order of protection is a court order that prohibits your abuser from contacting you or your children among other restrictions that could be enforced.
If your spouse is found to be a danger to your children by the courts, he or she may be completely denied parenting time rights. Other times, a judge will allow parenting time but will take other steps to keep the child and child’s other parent safe. For example, a judge may order that your address remain confidential from the other parent or that parenting time take place at a public place. Sometimes, abusive parents are allowed to communicate with a child through the phone or email but not face-to-face. In cases of extreme abuse, the court may terminate parental rights.
At our law firm, we realize that toll that domestic abuse can take on a family. If you have been the victim of domestic violence and are considering divorce, contact a compassionate St. Charles family law attorney right away. We will help you petition the court for an order of protection and assist you in securing safety for yourself and children. Call 630-377-7770 for a free confidential consultation today at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. today.