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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

1100 Lake Street, Suite 120, Oak Park, IL 60301

Oak Park | 708-848-3159

DuPage County | 630-852-9700   Mokena | 815-727-6144

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Skokie child custody modification attorneyAlthough countless studies have shown that children are happier and mentally healthier when they have a relationship with both parents, there are times when a parent may be causing them harm. If you are trying to protect your child from an abusive or neglectful parent, there are steps you can take to modify custody and visitation agreements following your divorce. You will bear the burden of proving that your child is in danger when with their mother or father, but sometimes, it is in the best interests of the child to be removed from a harmful situation. 

What Situations Are Considered Abusive or Neglectful?

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, there are many situations in which child custody may be modified due to an inappropriate or dangerous environment a parent’s home. The following are some examples of abuse which can come from a parent or any other family member, especially those responsible for caring for the child or living in the home with the child:

  • Causing a child physical injury or allowing it to happen
  • Torturing or allowing a child to be tortured
  • Punishing a child excessively
  • Sexually abusing a child or allowing others to do so
  • Selling or giving a child a controlled substance or alcohol
  • Causing physical or emotional trauma to a child

Examples of neglect at the hands of a caregiver include:


Skokie paternity lawyerFor decades now, paternity has been most often determined by a father being married to the child’s mother at the time of birth. Under Illinois law, if the biological father of a child is not married to the child’s mother, he cannot be listed on the child’s birth certificate until parentage is legally established. This is true even in cases in which the parents live together in a civil union, and even when the parents are engaged to be married.

How Is Paternity Established for Unmarried Couples?

If there is no disagreement between parents about the paternity, the simplest way to establish parentage is through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. This form must be signed by both parents and filed with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). This can be done in the hospital at the time of the child’s birth. If it is not completed then, a form can be obtained from the HFS website, a child support office, a county clerk’s office, a state/local registrar’s office, or a Department of Human Services office.

If there is some doubt or controversy about the child’s paternity, then the VAP should not be signed, as it can be difficult to reverse. If paternity is not voluntarily acknowledged, there are two other ways to establish paternity. The first is through an Administrative Paternity Order, entered by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Child Support Services. The second is through an Order of Paternity entered in court. Genetic testing may be done to compare the child’s DNA to the father’s and determine whether there is a match. A paternity case can be pursued until a child reaches the age of 20. 


Skokie order of protection lawyerFor those who have faced the unfortunate circumstances of being abused or neglected by family members, leaving a dangerous situation can sometimes be almost as frightening as staying. If you have been a victim of domestic violence, or if you are living in fear that you or your children may be harmed by a family member, a family law attorney can help you obtain an order of protection. 

Qualifying for an Order of Protection

According to the Illinois State Police, you may be granted an order of protection against any of the following:

  • A spouse or ex-spouse
  • Parents, children, or stepchildren
  • Someone with whom you formerly lived
  • Someone you dated or to whom you were engaged
  • Your children’s co-parent 
  • Personal assistants to people with disabilities

Types of abuse that an order of protection may address include:

  • Elite Lawyer
  • American Bar Association
  • Better Business Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • West Suburban Bar Association
  • Northwest Suburban Bar Association
  • Will County Bar Association
  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Lake County Bar Association
  • Kane County Bar Association




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