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What Can I Do If I Suspect My Child is Being Abused By Their Other Parent?A parent’s main priority is to protect their child, even if that means taking them away from their other parent. According to Childhelp, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds, and most abusers are family members or others close to your child. Whether you were never married, are filing for divorced, or are recently divorced, it is crucial to alert authorities if you suspect your co-parent of abuse. It can be uncomfortable and difficult to present your fears to the court, but this is the only way for you to take action for your child and protect them from their own parent. Courts typically lean towards keeping both parents in children’s lives, and it is a rare occurrence for a judge to give sole custody to one parent. However, accusations of violence and abuse make courts think twice about their parental responsibilities determinations to protect the child from harm.

Warning Signs of Abuse

The fear of making a false accusation of abuse is often enough to keep parents silent about their suspicions. If parents are not married and do not live under the same roof, it can be difficult for them to identify abuse with certainty. Look for the following signs in your child if you suspect that they are being subjected to abuse:

  • Extremely withdrawn, anxious, or fearful about making a mistake or doing something wrong
  • Frequent, unexplained injuries, welts, bruises, or cuts
  • Shying away from touch or flinching at sudden movements
  • Difficulties sitting or walking
  • Wearing inappropriate clothing for the type of weather (long sleeves on a hot day)

Possible Outcomes

There are a few ways that the court may address the accusations in order to protect your child. Depending on the evidence at hand, the court may be able to provide an immediate response and change to your parenting agreement. If you are divorced, this is known as post-divorce modifications. What the judge will likely decide as their initial response is to require supervised visitation for your child’s other parent. This means that they will continue to see your child but always have a designated supervisor present. This will allow the court to monitor their activity together and protect the child from any abuse that may occur behind closed doors. Depending on the extent of the abuse and the parent’s ability to keep a relationship with the child, the court will try to keep both parents in their lives to some extent.

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How to Conduct Yourself in Court During Your Parenting CaseFor many, a divorce may be their first experience in a courtroom with a judge making decisions for them. While you have probably seen television shows that depict court proceedings, this is not an accurate representation of court and the characters’ actions are likely something that you should avoid following. No matter the reason you are in court, your conduct can greatly affect the outcome of the case. This is especially crucial for those discussing parenting arrangements for their children. In these parenting cases, the way you hold yourself is your first impression on the judge and likely the most important. Courtrooms and legal proceedings often make those who are unfamiliar with the process nervous and uncomfortable, causing them to act differently than they do in normal life. While you may not be able to keep yourself from being on edge, keep in mind the following tips that can help you present yourself in a good light:

  1. Clothes Matter: In a similar fashion to a job interview, your outfit can be used to gauge your personality, commitment to the case, and overall capacity to appear professional when necessary. It is important to wear business attire to court — no jeans, t-shirts, or sweatpants. By dressing for the occasion, you are showing the judge that you take this court proceeding seriously and are able to put yourself together when necessary: an important parenting quality. It may be a good idea to show another person your chosen outfit before showing up in court.
  2. Timeliness Is Key: Being on time to your court hearing and being present shows your respect for the legal team working on your case and that you take the matters of parenting seriously. This is also reflective of your ability to make time for your children, even if it means showing up to court. The judge will be analyzing all of your words and movements, and being on time says “I care and I will be there for my child.”
  3. Respect the Judge: There are a few things that those involved in a court case should know before the hearing starts. Everyone in the courtroom should stand when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom. This is age-old etiquette that is still followed today. Anytime the judge speaks to you, stand and respond, calling them “Your Honor.” They will let you know when it is your time to speak, and you should avoid speaking out of turn. Showing disrespect to the judge will only work against you in the decision making process.

Call a Naperville Parenting Attorney Today

The best way to prepare for your courtroom hearings is to speak with an experienced attorney. They will be able to provide you with the basic etiquette information as well as any additional tips for the particular judge working on your case. Because they are familiar with the judges in the area, they will likely have some hidden tips that they can provide you with that cannot be found elsewhere. The Foray Firm has extensive experience working in the family courts throughout the south suburbs of Chicago and we assist our clients before every courtroom appearance. If you are fighting for your rights as a parent, contact our Joliet divorce lawyers at 312-702-1293 to schedule a free consultation.

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Do I Need Permission From My Child’s Other Parent to Relocate?After getting divorced, many individuals will choose to have a fresh start, and for some, this means moving to a new place in a new location. For those going through the major life changes that inevitably come with divorce, this fresh start can be a good way to move forward towards a future that is focused on their happiness. However, for those with children, it may not be that easy. Divorcing couples with children will forever be connected by their shared kids. With parenting time agreements and child support payments, it may feel as if this new beginning may never start. Making the decision to move with your children may be restricted depending on the circumstances, and it is important to avoid violating this restriction as it can lead to serious legal consequences.

What is Considered Relocation?

Not every change of residence is considered relocation. For instance, the state cannot restrict you if you would simply like to move down the street to start fresh in a new house. However, anyone looking to relocate with their children will need permission from their child’s other parent or from the court. So, what is considered relocation by Illinois law?

  • If the child’s current primary residence is in DuPage, Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, or Will County and you move them to a location within Illinois that is more than 25 miles from their current residence
  • If the child’s current primary residence is not in one of the abovementioned counties and you move them to a location in Illinois that is more than 50 miles from their current residence
  • If you move the child outside of the state of Illinois and their new residence is over 25 miles away from their current residence

How Do I Get Permission?

If the parent who is the primary caretaker of the child would like to relocate with their child, they will need to provide their child’s other parent with written notification of their intent to move. This must be done 60 days before the parent and child intend to relocate, and it must inform the other parent of their intended move date, their new residence’s location, and the length of time that the relocation will last if it is not intended to be indefinite. The non-relocating parent is able to sign the relocation notice, granting the moving parties permission to do so, if they are comfortable with the relocation taking place. If this is the case, court permission is not required. However, many parents may not be comfortable with their child being so far away from them. If the non-moving parent refuses to sign the notice, the relocating parent may file their request with the court. The court may also deny the request; however, they will be looking at the request from a much different perspective. With no emotional investment to the parents or child, the court can act as the necessary third-party to determine whether or not this move is really in the best interests of the child. In many cases, impartial judgment may be necessary as emotions can often cloud a parent’s judgment on both ends.

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Will County child custody attorney

Many people do not realize the number of steps included in the divorce process, and this number only increases when children are involved. While many may think dividing your belongings is the most difficult portion, formulating a parenting plan can often create the most conflict between divorcing couples. Learning to “share” your child with your ex when you do not live together is difficult for every parent. From the outside, it may seem obvious how you should divide the parenting time; however, this can change during the divorce proceedings. Understanding what is included in a parenting plan and what the various options are is a good idea before stepping into your legal meetings.

 

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An Overview of Child Relocation Requests in IllinoisRelocating your family to a new environment can play a role in your divorce proceeding or come up after the ink has dried on your divorce papers.

Although you believe moving your child 500 miles away from where your divorce occurred will be good for them, the court and your child’s other parent may not agree.

In Illinois, the parent with primary parenting time does not need court approval to move with their children if the other parent does not object or the move is within 25 miles of their current residence in Will, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake or McHenry counties. For other counties, the limit is 50 miles. Any move outside of those set mile ranges must be filed by written notice and approved by the court.

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