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(Domestic Violence, Parental Alienation)

Other Family Law Matters

Never Married Parents

Never married parents face virtually the same issues that married parents face regarding their children.  They must deal with support and allocation of parental responsibilities. However, because there is no common law marriage in Illinois, courts cannot address issues of support to and from the other parent or division of property that the parents may have acquired during their relationship. This would not be an issue for parents who entered into a civil union.

Parental Alienation

This remains a controversial concept. It occurs when one parent undertakes a course of conduct designed to alienate or separate the child from the other parent. This can be done overtly and intentionally or subtly and unintentionally. There are differing degrees of Parental Alienation but the end result is that children who are victims of this behavior end up with a damaged or with no relationship with the other parent. This is not something that is gender specific.

The research on this subject suggests that except in rare circumstances, children who are deprived of a relationship with one or the other or his or her parents after the separation or divorce can suffer adverse consequences later in life. These cases are difficult to handle and the solutions on how to handle cases of alienation, particularly severe alienation are both divisive and expensive. There is far from a universal agreement between judges on how to handle these cases.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence can happen in any family, regardless of ethnic origin, religion or financial status in life.  It is not an uncommon element in domestic relations cases and can include not just parents with children and property but also people who have had a dating relationship. It can also be directed towards children.

Domestic violence can involve physical violence, emotional violence, stalking and harassment and financial oppression. Domestic violence is not an uncommon theme in domestic relations cases.  Fortunately, under Illinois law, a victim of domestic violence has the ability to obtain immediate protection without notice to the other party.

Among the remedies allowed are temporary possession of the child or children, temporary possession of the residence, an order requiring that the perpetrator of the abuse be required to have no contact with the protected party and even protection for family pets. The emergency relief does not last more than three weeks and then ultimately the Court must hear from both sides of the case to determine how to proceed next.

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