Q: My daughter's father was incarcerated for almost 2 years for child abuse of his other child. Can he get custody?
He was convicted on 3 different occasions in a span of 4 years. Each offense was against his older child (not mine). His rights to his other child were terminated while he was incarcerated. Is he able to get custody/visitation of my daughter? Or is it possible to have his rights to my daughter terminated as well? We were never married, have no current custody agreement, but his name is on the birth certificate. Now that he was released from prison, he wants to see her. I'm afraid for my daughter. What can I do?
A: Look to Illinois statute 750 ILCS 5/603.10 for guidance. Illinois allows court's to put restrictions on parental responsibilities, including parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.
Unfortunately, if you do not have a case filed with your local circuit court, then you won't have the power to enforce the statute. You will, in essence, have to deal with the father of your child directly, negotiating parenting time, restrictions, or making agreements between yourselves to address your concerns. This may not be an ideal choice depending on your level of communication with the father. Filing a case in court may be a better way to address your concerns, if those concerns are that the father may seriously endanger your child's mental, moral, or physical health or significantly impair that child's emotional development.
You can use the facts related to his older child as the basis for your petition to restrict his parenting time, but it is not likely that you will be able to terminate his rights completely. More information regarding the actions involving the older child would be needed to further assess that issue.
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