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Child Custody: The Intersection of Domestic Violence and the Law

Posted on in Domestic Violence

DuPage County family law attorney, domestic violenceThe determination of child custody can be a very difficult topic in both separations and divorces. However, the issue becomes more complicated when domestic violence has occurred in the household. When an order of protection is entered in a case, it severely impacts the rights of one parent. 

In order to obtain an order of protection in DuPage County, as in most other counties across Illinois, a few factors must be present. First, there needs to be some domestic relationship between you and the person you are seeking the order of protection against.  Second, there must be a history of abuse. Lastly, you need to be a resident of DuPage County in order to get an order of protection against the abuser.

If your husband, boyfriend, or family member abused you or your child, you should contact an experienced domestic violence attorney who will assist you obtaining an order of protection to ensure you and your family can live safely without the threat of violence. 

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act 

Illinois legislators passed the Illinois Domestic Violence Act to make illegal the acts of any person who physically or mentally interferes with the personal liberty of another family or household member. 

If you or your child was abused, you should leave home with your children as soon as possible and go to court for an emergency order of protection. If this order is granted, you will have temporary custody of your child (or children) and the abuser will be required to stay away from you. However, if you run away with your child or children, there is a chance you could be accused of kidnapping. 

Understanding Child Custody When a Parent is an Abuser

Obtaining an order of protection to take your child or children away from the abuser is only a temporary fix. The custody determination of the child or children will take place as part of divorce or separation proceedings. When your case is brought to a family law judge as part of divorce or separation proceedings, the judge will make a decision based on what he or she believes is in the best interest of your child or children. The court will consider, among other things, the safety of your child and the abuser’s history of domestic violence. 

If the abuser battered you and not your child, then the court will typically allow him or her to see the child. This is not an unusual occurrence. Still, you can ask the court to grant supervised visits only to ensure the safety of your child. However, it is a much different scenario if the abuser abused your child.

Although an abusive parent will not automatically lose his or her right to visiting the child over a single incident of abuse, habitual or chronic abuse of a child could, aside from supervised visits, result in a complete termination of parental rights if serious enough in nature.

Consult an Attorney

Domestic violence, whether physical or emotional, lingers on for a long time and could have devastating effects on families. If you or your child was a victim of domestic violence, you should contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney who will protect your legal rights, advise you of your options, and bring you one step closer to protecting yourself and your family.

 

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