How Does Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody in Illinois?

How Does Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody in Illinois?

By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC

Whether you have been accused of domestic violence or you share children with a person accused of domestic violence, it is important to understand how domestic violence can affect child custody in Illinois. In short, the occurrence of domestic violence may result in a restriction of parenting time, as well as limitations on the allocation of parental responsibilities.

This can include a restriction on the allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Our experienced child custody lawyers in Chicago and the surrounding counties can provide you with more information and can assist you with your own child custody case involving allegations of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence is a Factor to Consider in Allocating Parental Responsibilities

The IMDMA considers domestic violence as a form of “abuse” defined in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986. Under that law, the term “domestic violence” means “abuse,” and “abuse” is defined as “physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.”

In the IMDMA, courts focus on the “best interest of the child” factors when deciding how to allocate parental responsibilities. When it comes to the allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time, the court will consider a variety of factors that go toward an understanding of what is in the best interest of the child, and one of those factors include “the occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the child’s household.”

Accordingly, courts may use the occurrence of domestic violence as one factor in making determinations about what is in the best interests of the child when allocating significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. Courts can also consider whether a restriction of parental responsibilities is appropriate, which can involve occurrences of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence May Result in Restrictions on Significant Decision-Making Responsibilities and Parenting Time

Under the IMDMA, the court can restrict parental responsibilities if it finds, after a hearing, that “a parent engaged in any conduct that seriously endangered the child’s mental, moral, or physical health or that significantly impaired the child’s emotional development.” In some situations, the court may determine that allegations of domestic violence or abuse fit this reason for restricting parental responsibilities and may restrict the parent’s significant decision-making responsibilities or parenting time.

When parental responsibilities are restricted for reasons of domestic violence, the court may reduce the parental responsibilities, eliminate them altogether, require that parenting time be supervised, or limit the amount of communication a parent has with the child, require the parent to attend and complete a treatment program, or other requirements outlined in the IMDMA or which the court thinks are necessary to protect the safety and welfare of the child.

Contact Our Chicago Area Child Custody Attorneys

If you have any questions or concerns about how allegations of domestic violence, or adjudicated occurrences of domestic violence, affect the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois, our child custody attorneys can help. Our firm has years of experience representing parents in a wide variety of child custody and other family law cases, and we can begin working with you today. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC for more information.