Chicago, IL asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Illinois

Q: I have custody of my children and the mother bought my 13 year old vape and told her not to let me find out.

What can I do about this situation? I do not trust the mother to make the right decisions.

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1 Lawyer Answer
David Giffin
David Giffin
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Urbana, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: First of all, I'm sorry you are dealing with this kind of problem. Not being able to trust your coparent to act in your child's best interests is upsetting, at best.

There is a lot of information we don't know about this situation. I would also encourage you to double-check the information you have learned about the vape, just to make sure it is correct. Who or what was the source of the information? When did this happen? Do you have the vape device itself? What circumstances surrounded her giving the vape device? Did she do other things to encourage or condone vaping? Further, have there been other recent incidents (i.e. within the last few months) where their mom has done questionable or harmful things?

Under Illinois law, parties to a family case can ask a court to restrict a party's parenting time or take other actions to protect a child where a parent has done something that endanger's a child's mental, emotional, or physical health. A court may be willing to grant you some protective relief in this case, assuming you can present adequate evidence about her giving your child the vape. However, it is possible there are other facts or mitigating issues involved in your situation that you did not share, so the vape by itself may not be enough for a court to grant relief.

Another alternative to going to court is to report the matter to the Department of Child and Family Services. DCFS can investigate, determine whether abuse or neglect occurred, and possibly require that the mother comply with certain services to correct any conditions they find to be harmful. In serious enough situations, court cases and temporary removal from a person's care can also take place. However, for the same reasons identified above, DCFS could determine that the allegation of abuse or neglect is unfounded. Also, DCFS involvement can go on for a long time and can subject an entire family to a great deal of stress. It is important to make sure that you are certain that DCFS involvement is something you are prepared to deal with before making that call.

Given how much we don't know about this, I would encourage you to consult with an attorney in person. They can go over the entirety of your situation with you and give you more focused legal advice. Good luck.

1 user found this answer helpful

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