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Options for Protecting Children From a Harmful Parent

 Posted on September 29, 2022 in Child Custody

Joliet parenting time restriction lawyerIt is generally presumed that it is in the best interests of children to have a relationship with both of their parents when the parents are not in a romantic relationship or marriage. However, this is a rebuttable presumption, and in certain circumstances, is negated entirely. Where one parent is causing harm to the child, it is the duty of the other to take steps to protect the child. It is important to understand the legal boundaries of what a parent may and may not do in an effort to keep the child safe. Harm may come in the forms of physical violence, emotional attacks, sexual abuse, neglect, or exposure to an unsafe lifestyle, such as criminal behavior or drug use.

A parent’s behavior need not escalate to the level of legal child abuse offenses to cause significant harm to impressionable children. If you feel that your child’s other parent is a danger to the child’s physical or emotional well-being, there may be steps an attorney can help you take, such as seeking a new parenting time allocation

Legal Tips for Mitigating the Harm of a Dangerous Parent

Even for those who were never married to their child’s other parent, the courts of Illinois are open to parents seeking to allocate parenting time and parental responsibilities in a formal legal arrangement. Potential steps that may be helpful depending on the specifics of your situation may include: 

  • Supervised visitation - Courts may order supervised visitation, in which a trusted adult supervises a parent as they spend time with the children, more readily than they will bar a parent from seeing their children entirely. The presence and authority of another adult may prevent a parent from causing harm. 
  • Protection order - In cases where the child has experienced family violence at the hands of a parent, a court may issue a protection order under which the children are named as protected parties. 
  • Criminal prosecution - If you have significant evidence that the other parent has committed criminal acts against the children, speaking with the police or perhaps a prosecutor may or may not lead to a criminal prosecution against the dangerous parent. 
  • Divorce litigation - Many parents, including those who are abusive to their children, will refuse to accept an uncontested divorce that leaves them little or no unsupervised parenting time. In this event, litigating the child custody issues in your divorce may lead to a more favorable outcome. 

It is also important to understand that simply taking the children and leaving without any court involvement is not a lawful option. If you intend to relocate with the children and bar the other parent from spending time with them, then it is critical that you seek the approval of a court first, as doing so impermissibly may lead to criminal charges being filed against you. 

Contact a Will County Child Custody Attorney

The Foray Firm is deeply committed to protecting children from a parent who would harm them. Our caring Joliet child custody lawyers will strive to help you keep your children safe in your care. Call 312-702-1293 for a free consultation. 




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