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Archive for the ‘Child Custody & Visitation’ Category

Parental Rights for Incarcerated Parents

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Illinois family law statutes, Illinios child custody lawyer, Illinois family law attorney, Being arrested and charged for a crime can have a significant impact on a person’s life, especially when the conviction comes with a long-term prison sentence. It is not only the person, however, who finds themselves the most affected. With the prison population growing in the United States, and roughly 2.2 million prisoners in the U.S. (excluding those who are on probation or parole), the number of people affected by an extended prison sentence includes the prisoner and his or her family, especially when children are involved.

Incarcerated Parents Can Still Maintain Their Parental Rights

When a parent has been arrested and convicted of a crime, depending on the circumstances, a parent may lose parental rights to his/her children. This, however, is not a guaranteed termination. Parents who have been incarcerated may still be permitted to have parental rights and a relationship with their children as long as that relationship does not harm or cause damage to the child’s physical, mental, and/or emotional well-being.

Child Custody at Time of Arrest

At the initiation of your arrest or once you get your first phone call from the arresting official, there may be an opportunity for you to make arrangements for your child/children to be looked after by a relative or family friends. Even if there is another relative or friend to take care of the child (who is not the other biological or adoptive parent), it will be up to the Child Protective Services to vet the emergency foster parent to ensure that this person is responsible and won’t cause harm to the child. If possible, it is always beneficial for the child to remain with a relative or a family friend rather than be put into foster care as the child’s life will be less likely to be disrupted by the imprisonment if he/she is with someone he/she knows and trusts. It’s also best for the child if the arrangements allow the child to remain local so that his/her life is unchanged as much as possible.

The Importance of Maintaining Relationship between the Parent and Children

To later be able to reunite with his/her children, an incarcerated parent, who has not had his/her parental rights terminated, should work to ensure that he/she has visitation rights. It is important for keeping the family intact that there is consistent family contact while the parent is in prison. Studies report that continued and regular visits lead to strong, successful relationships between the parent and child post-incarceration and also lead to a lower recidivism rate for the parent.

Reunification Process

Reunification is the process by which you, as a parent, upon your release from prison, are able to reunite with your children. To be able to reunite with your family, you must prove that you are a good and responsible parent. Part of that process is showing that you would not bring any harm to your child and that the relationship and kinship you have with your child is in his/her best interest. The court will provide a reunification plan and to get your children back, you must satisfy all of the requirements asked of you by the court.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County

Parental rights are fundamental and there is no law in Illinois that requires the termination of parental rights when a parent has been incarcerated. If your parental rights are being threatened, it is important to speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC. Contact our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.

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.

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