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Archive for the ‘Child Custody & Visitation’ Category

Study Reveals That Children in Shared Custody Situation Are Less Stressed than Children in a One-Parent Home

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father's rights, Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois familiy law attorney, When determining what would be the best for your children when you and your spouse have decided to split, there are a variety of child custody arrangements that can be discussed and put into place. Many psychologists have wondered about the effect that custody arrangements could have on children that are forced into the custody arrangement, especially determining whether one custody arrangement may be in the best interest of the child.

The Custody Arrangement-Stress Study

According to a most recent study, surprisingly, the once-held idea that shared custody arrangements were more stressful for children actually is not the case at all. As found in the study, where 150,000 children ages 12-15 years old were evaluated, it is the children who are in a one-parent home that suffer the most. The researchers met with children who lived in nuclear families, those that spent time in a shared custody relationship with their parents, and then children who lived in one-parent homes, and evaluated their psychosomatic health problems, including everything from sleep issues, stomachaches, tension, loss of appetite, or any issues concentrating.

The Results of the Study

It was no surprise that children in the nuclear family reported the least amount of issues regarding psychosomatic issues. Though many researchers felt that the stress of moving back and forth between two parents adversely affected children in joint custody arrangements, it was the opposite. Having two parents affected the stress of moving between two homes: the children had double the resources, the social circles, family, and material goods, and made these children feel less vulnerable. The children that were in a sole-parent custody arrangement actually were more stressed and had more serious psychosomatic issues than any of the other children in the arrangements. Accordingly, it was also girls who reported more psychosomatic issues than their male counterparts, and sleep problems had the most impact on the children.

Shared Parenting Bills Nationwide

This research comes at the time where several states are pushing forward shared parenting bills, and providing significant parental rights to fathers in child custody arrangements. In the past, the courts generally ruled in favor of the mothers; now, the movement has pushed forward for equal parenting time for both mother and father. The fear behind the presumption of the shared parenting bill is that fathers who are emotionally or physically abusive to the family will have significant bargaining power at the custody negotiations because they are put on equal footing as the mothers. There are also concerns about forcing parents who have significant hate for each other to collaborate and agree on decisions for the children.

Illinois: Joint Custody as a Default

In Illinois, the Court system has already created a presumption that joint custody arrangements are in the best interest of the child. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that the default custody arrangement should be a joint parenting situation where the parents come to a solution through a parental agreement, deciding which upbringing matters will be decided together and which can be decided apart. The court will also see the extent to which the parents can cooperate and work effectively together for the child.

When Joint Custody Is Not in the Best Interest of the Child

Though the best interest of the child analysis generally pulls in favor of joint custody, the court has significant latitude in allowing judges to determine when the presence of one of the parents could potentially harm the child, such as in the situation where the parent has been convicted of being a sex offender, or there has been an occurrence of repeated abuse in the household.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County

If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, it is important speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC about child custody arrangements and how to best draft a parental agreement. Contact our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.

Sexual Assault Survivor Rights to Terminate Parental Rights of Assaulters

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Illinois family law attorney, children of rape, new law, The trauma associated with a sexual assault or sexual violence can be extremely volatile. There are physical, emotional, and psychological wounds that may be near impossible to heal without significant assistance or time to help the survivor of sexual assault to get past the event. What makes this trauma even more difficult and overwhelming is the birth of a child who was conceived as a result of this violent and criminal act.

Parental Rights of Assaulters in Many States

Legislation put into place is attempting to remedy the effects that come from the birth of a child conceived as a result of sexual assault. In about half of the states, there are little to no protections of the mother against her sexual assaulter who may want to have a relationship with the child as the child’s father. Many of these states permit not only custodial rights, but also visitation rights, forcing the survivor of the sexual assault to maintain a relationship with her assaulter. Some states even give the father the right to prohibit the mother from putting the child up for adoption.

New Legislation to Cut Down Assaulters’ Parental Rights: Bringing Power Back to Survivors of Sexual Assault

State laws and legislation are starting to emerge which will enable the mother of the child who was conceived from sexual assault to not only cut the father out of the picture completely by terminating his parental rights, but also assert the right to cut the father’s family out, to prohibit the father to inherit from the child, and to decline child support from the father, among other actions.

Illinois’s Comprehensive Legislation of Survivors’ Rights

Illinois has been one of the states to spearhead significant reform with regards to the role of a father who sexually assaulted the mother of his child. On January 1, 2014, IL Public Act 098-0476 became effective and broadened existing Illinois law to provide extensive rights to the mother in the face of the assaulter’s rights. First and foremost, it provides that the mother-survivor no longer has to wait until there has been a conviction levied against her attacker; it provides that the protections may extend to someone who was found by clear and convincing evidence to have committed the non-consensual, sexual criminal act which led to the fathering of the child. In addition, the law also ensures that even if the parental rights of the father have been terminated as a result of the law, the father is still required to provide child support and maintenance, but the mother has the right to decline this support.

Another aspect of the law provides that the assaulter’s family does not have standing to assert a claim of rights with regards to the child. This extends to the assaulter’s parents, siblings, grandparents, or other relationship which may normally attempt to bring claim pursuant to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

Finally, the Act provides that the father is not entitled to any inheritance or other rights with regards to the child without the consent of the mother.

Reassertion and Reestablishment of Power: The Purpose Behind The Changes

The Illinois provision provides effective legislation which gives the mother an affirmative right to terminate the parental rights of the father who assaulted her. This legislation is extremely comprehensive and provides significant protection and power to a survivor of sexual assault who may feel that her rights and power were violated as a result of the sexual assault. The most important aspect for a survivor’s recovery is providing her the ability to reassert herself and reestablish her power, especially with regards to the child conceived as a result of such a horrendous act.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County

Whether you are a survivor of sexual assault or a parent looking to terminate another’s parental rights, it is important to speak with experienced family law attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC to understand more the ramifications of these legal actions. Contact our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.

The Newest Factors that Can Affect Child Custody in Court

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child custody in court, DuPage County family law attorneysLegal and physical child custody generally hinges on the decisions of a court. A court will listen to both parents and the relationship that each has with his or her child in question, and will additionally balance a variety of family factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child.

The Best Interest of the Child in Illinois

The following are several factors that a court will weigh and assess in determining what type of custody arrangement is in the best interest of a child:

  • The ideal arrangement for each parent;
  • The ideal arrangement based on a child’s wishes;
  • The relationship and interaction between and among a child, his/her siblings, each individual parent, and any other relative who interacts with the child;
  • The extent in which the custody arrangement will alter a child’s daily routine or lifestyle;
  • The extent in which the custody arrangement may impact the mental and physical health of a child;
  • If there is any past abuse or misconduct (or threat of abuse or misconduct) between a child and a custodial/non-custodial parent.

Joint Child Custody

Joint child custody is considered, in the eyes of the state, the gold standard. If both parents can be involved, that is usually in the best interests of a child. Before granting joint child custody, a court does take into consideration the following factors:

  • The ability of each parent to cooperate and agree on the best parenting plan for each child;
  • The residential and financial lifestyle of each parent; and
  • If there is any history of past abuse or misconduct which would make it dangerous for a child to be in contact with either parent or an acquaintance of either parent.

The Effect that Social Media Sites Have on Custody Arrangements

With the increased use of technology and social media, courts have been taking into consideration other factors: each parent’s presence and behavior on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.

Recently, there have been quite a few cases where misconduct and certain behavior that a parent has exhibited on social media websites has seriously impacted the legal and physical custody arrangement previously made.

In one case, a parent tricked his ex-spouse into exchanging lewd and lascivious videos on Facebook (the eight-year-old child served as cameraman of the videos) and introduced the videos as evidence of neglect and abuse of the child. Ultimately, the endangering of the child on both the part of the ex-wife who requested her child to tape the videos, and the ex-husband who had tricked the wife into taping the videos in the first place, forced the court to revoke custody of the child from both the ex-spouses and place the child in custody with a third party.

In another case, one parent who had posted terrible things about her child on Facebook had that post used as evidence to revoke her custody rights. Clearly, social media is having a significantly negative impact on custody rights and the best interest of the child.

The Other New Factor: How Much of a “Helicopter-Parent” Are You?

So what has been found to help your custody case? Ultimately, showing evidence of being a “helicopter-parent” is extremely useful.

A “helicopter-parent” is a coined term for a parent who intensely hovers around his or her children and smothers his or her children with surveillance. A recent study has shown that judges are more likely to grant custody to parents who can show evidence of them being “obsessive, helicopter-parents.”

The following are qualities of a “helicopter-parent” in the eyes of the court:

  • Parents who know the name of their child’s teachers or friends;
  • Parents who attend classes with their child; and
  • Parents who coach their child’s sport team.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County

These are just some of the newest factors taken into consideration in child custody cases. Child custody and the best interest of the child analysis is one that can be highly subjective and determined by a court. It is important to not only put your best evidence (and foot) forward, but also to have an experienced family law attorney by your side. The family law attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help guide you through the child custody negotiations. Contact our DuPage County family law attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.

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