Illinois Protects Visitation
Illinois took a big step to protect visitation of non-custodial parents. Legislation is on its way to becoming a law that will provide sanctions and remedies for impeding visitation of the non-custodial parent similar to that of child support non-compliance. SB3823 passed the Senate (51-0-0) and the House (107-0-2). It is awaiting Governor Pat Quinn’s signature.
Studies show that children who grow up without both parents suffer greater risk of drop-out rates/academic failure, criminal behavior, drug use, early sexual activity/pregnancy, suicide, and violence. This legislation sends a strong message that the psychological well-being of a child is as important as the physical well-being.
SB 3823 brings remedies and sanctions for visitation interference closer to that of child support non-compliance. It provides judges additional tools that they may choose to use, including:
Illinois has company in protecting visitation orders. Five states suspend licenses: Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Utah. Six states incarcerate: Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
- Allowing for the suspension of driver’s license
- Allowing for probation
- Allowing for imprisonment not to exceed 6 months
- Allowing for the finding of a petty offence and fines of no more than $500 per offense
For this to work, the non-custodial parent needs to start filing for visitation interference in the family courts and specifically ask for these measures. Also, the non-custodial parent should call the police each time interference occurs and insist they file a criminal complaint under 720 ILCS 5/10-5.5. The police officer may tell you this is a civil matter, but under this legislation it is a criminal complaint.
Robert Ferrer of Illinois Fathers researched other states and provided the documentation on visitation abuse to the legislature. Michael D. Gerhardt, partner, Gerhardt & Haskins, LLP, as well as members of Illinois Fathers, testified before the Illinois House and Senate to promote this protection of visitation orders.
Senator John M. Sullivan and Representatives Constance A. Howard, Sidney H. Mathias, Robert W. Pritchard, Ann Williams, and Michael J. Zalewski sponsored the legislation.
Shared Parenting – Teetered – Tottered - Toppled
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoedHF 322 Shared Parenting legislation that would have required each parent to get a minimum of 35% of the parenting time — including during temporary orders.
Dayton, in his veto letter, said there was enough uncertainty over the ramifications of the bill to give him pause. Dayton, a divorced father, has pledged more engagement from his office on the issue in the 2013 session to hopefully produce legislation he can sign next year.
In 2009, the Minnesota Supreme Court commissioned a task force to study joint custody. William Mitchell College of Law Dean Nancy Ver Steegh was the reporter. She says the governor did the right thing to not sign the bill. "It's hard to imagine that 35-percent/65-percent allocation is going to be right amount for every family and that individual approach is going to be much better as opposed to a one-size-fits-all idea," she said.
To reach Governor Mark Dayton, please use the contact form on his website. Let him know fathers are ready to work with him to produce strong shared parenting legislation in 2013.
If you want more detail, you will find a great story by Fathers and Families’ Robert Franklin, Esq.
Can Your Car Lobby?
Bolivar Bello figured out how his old car could become part of the voice for family court reform.
Bolivar contacted us because, “As I am currently going through my own custody issues at the moment and the financial burden that comes with it, I don’t have the disposable income to make a cash contribution to Fathers and Families at this time. However, I hope this in some small way helps the organization continue its efforts in seeking what is truly in the best interests of the children.”
Once Bolivar had the idea that he could give his used automobile away, he went to work. Bolivar searched for a company that handles such auctions. He found Donate for Charity.
Bolivar personally made all the arrangements. They picked up his car and towed it away from his home. After the sale, Donate for Charity sent Fathers and Families a check less its commission and fees and let us know that the gift was made by Bolivar Bello.
Thank you, Bolivar, for turning your car into a voice for family court reform!
In the News
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Illegal Payoffs to Mothers to Cut Fathers Out of Adoptions
Father Loses Child to Adoption
Forbes Anti-Dad Article
Fit Father Denied Daughter
Fathers and Families improves the lives of children and strengthens society by protecting the child’s right to the love and care of both parents after separation or divorce. We seek better lives for children through family court reform that establishes equal rights and responsibilities for fathers and mothers.
Fathers and Families’ vision is a society in which:
- Children are happier and more successful because their loving bonds are protected after parental separation or divorce:
- Children have a natural right to be nurtured and guided by both parents:
- Society treats fathers and mothers as equally important to the wellbeing of their children:
- Shared parenting after separation or divorce is the norm:
- The courts arrange finances after separation or divorce so that both mothers and fathers can afford to house and care for their children and themselves: and
- Our society understands and respects the essential role of fathers.
Our core principles are:
- Shared Parenting: Shared parenting protects children’s best interests and the loving bonds children share with both parents after separation or divorce.
- Parental Equality: Equality between genders has been extended to every corner of American society, with one huge exception: family courts and the related agencies.
- Respect for Human and Property Rights: The Supreme Court of the United States has found that “the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children... is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.”
Fathers and Families
PO Box 270760
Boston, Massachusetts 02127-0760