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How domestic violence affects a child custody battle in Illinois

If you have experienced domestic violence, please know that you are not alone. At Johnson & Johnson, Attorneys at Law, we have helped countless people through these devastating situations as they try to leave the relationship, secure domestic orders or initiate a divorce. 

One issue that often arises is child custody. As a parent, your primary concern will be for the safety of your family. Illinois courts will take any domestic violence into consideration when considering which parent will have custody as well as how much visitation time the abusive parent may receive – if any. 

According to Illinois law, domestic violence is defined as a crime that could involve hitting, choking, kicking, threatening or harassing. The Illinois Attorney General notes that violence against family members can include any of the following: 

  •          People who are related by blood
  •          People who share a home or used to share a home
  •          People who are married or used to be married
  •          People who either have or allegedly have a child in common. 

In most cases in which a judge is trying to determine custody, the best interest of the child will take precedence. More often than not, that means that the child will not live with and perhaps even have visitation with the abusive parent. This is especially true if there is a chance that the child would experience physical, emotional or mental damage.

Further, a judge would likely make sure the affected parent and child have been adequately protected. Keeping the child’s address confidential from the abuser and preventing the abuser from having visitations at the child’s home are two ways of accomplishing this.

These matters can quickly become complex, which is why having an attorney on your side is often in your best interest. For more information on this topic, please visit our page on domestic violence.

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