A common reason parents lose custody of a child, referred to as parenting time and parental responsibility in Illinois, is child abuse. Child abuse or child maltreatment may include physical abuse, psychological abuse that mentally and emotionally traumatizes a child; sexual abuse, and neglect where a child is deprived of their basic needs.
Signs of physical child abuse may present as wounds, broken bones, burns or dislocations, or may include symptoms of headaches, stomach pain or vomiting, or a reluctance to use an extremity. A child may present with anxiety, depression, and social withdrawal, or other unexplained or unusual behavior exhibited by the child.
Child neglect is sometimes more difficult to detect, although telltale signs may include indications of undernourishment, fatigue, disheveled or unclean appearance, and injuries resulting from unsupervised and potentially hazardous activities such as a young child handling matches or lighters or a child left unattended for long periods of time.
Typically a non-neglectful parent, older sibling or other family member who sees a child regularly, or a teacher who sees a child in the classroom during the week, are able to spot signs of abuse and neglect. If a child is abused or neglected, the offending parent may lose or have custody restricted to ensure the child is healthy and safe.
What Causes Child Abuse?
Sometimes abuse or neglect occurs as a result of a parent’s mental or psychological disorder, or may be an issue of anger or stress management. Other times it may be a parent’s struggle with substance abuse, which results in abusive or neglectful behavior toward a child. Whatever the reason, a court will not hesitate to restrict or terminate parenting time and parental responsibility if child abuse is an issue. The well being of the child is paramount in any custody determination.
Falsely Accused of Child Abuse in a Divorce Proceeding
Although rare, because conflicts can arise around the custody of children in a divorce, there are sometimes false allegations of child abuse made by one parent against another to influence a child custody determination. If a parent knowingly makes a false allegation of physical or sexual abuse, they may lose custody of the child or have their parenting time and parental responsibility otherwise restricted.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer for Help
When you have concerns regarding parenting time and parental responsibility in your divorce, contact Illinois child custody lawyer Ronald L. Bell & Associates for immediate assistance today at 847-495-6000.