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The Effect of Domestic Violence on Child Custody Cases

Posted on in Child Custody

domestic violenceWhile domestic violence sometimes reflects an abusive relationship between two partners, it is a sad fact that many times, domestic violence reaches the entire family and affects children as well. Even if children are not the object of the abuse, the negative effects on their well-being from exposure to such conduct is undeniable. The state of Illinois obviously agrees, since the legislature takes the position that domestic violence is unhealthy for childhood development. Illinois courts take domestic violence incidents into special account when making custody determinations.

Domestic Violence and Custody Decisions

Since a good portion of domestic violence cases ultimately involve divorce and/or child custody proceedings, it makes sense that such cases receive special consideration by Illinois courts. Specifically, in custody cases in which domestic violence is an issue, courts presume that it is in the child’s best interest to not have contact with the parent accused of abuse. This includes living with the abusive parent and having visitation with him or her. It is the law that the judge must be notified at the outset of any custody case whether either party to the matter is involved in other court proceedings regarding domestic violence or protective orders.

If the judge determines that visitation with a parent would endanger the child in any way, it will not be granted. This may be a judge’s decision in cases where the judge believes the child will be abused or endangered during visitation, the abuser will use the visitation as a chance to harass a victim or someone in their home, the abuser will refuse to return the child, or the abuser will act in any way that is contrary to the child’s best interest.

On the other hand, a judge may grant visitation to an abusive parent if adequate protection can be ensured by placing protections in their order of visitation. This can include ensuring that the victim’s address remains confidential, prohibiting the abuser from coming to the victim’s residence to pick up or drop off the child, ordering the location where visitation will take place, or ordering electronic communication with the child as opposed to in-person visitation. In addition, the court may be inclined to order supervised visitation under certain circumstances. This is usually done as a way of affording protection to the child and the victim from the abusive parent. Visitation may be done at a designated facility or may be supervised by a trusted friend or family member.

Child Custody Attorney

If you or someone you know is involved in a child custody matter, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney, especially if your case involves domestic violence. The attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC have successful experience representing clients in many different types of child custody cases throughout Chicago and the greater surrounding area. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today to discuss your matter.
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