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Messages - ILLINOIS-CRC

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The yawning gap between common parenting practices and “visitation schedules” presumed by Illinois family courts have generated anxieties for years.   More than two decades have passed since our laws called for “the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents” after divorce and yet “Every Other Weekend” parenting schedules for one parent are commonly awarded.  Reforms for these outdated schedules were evaluated by the Illinois Family Law Study Committee because they have been viewed as ‘child-unfriendly’ for more than a decade.

Children need reassurance within our laws that factors such as bitterness or irrational fears between their divorcing parents are not going to play a role in minimizing their access to their non-resident mom or dad.  Additionally, “standard visitation schedules” instituted in 1980s divorce courts are sending a repressive signal to today’s engaged non-resident parents, usually the fathers.

Lack of parental involvement undermines student achievement and ultimately, our economy.  Illinois’ outdated family court presumptions result in fit, caring parents being sidelined from their children’s academic efforts, extracurricular interests, and critical parent-teacher events.  Worse, costly legal battles are often unavoidable just for parents to be awarded school overnights with their child. 
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A legislative reform proposed by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) provides factors for children’s best interests that fit caring and accessible parents.  Adoption of the ISBA’s proposed parenting time factors would significantly reduce divorce-related conflicts for the 45,000 Illinois children each year who experience the breakup of their parents.

Parent-led organizations like the Children’s Rights Council of Illinois feel the ISBA proposal will help Illinois catch up to progressive states like Texas, California, and Washington State in its treatment of children of separated parents.  For our legislators, it will be an opportunity to champion the best parenting practices recommended by our nation’s top child development researchers.

Please contact CRC-IL for more information.
http://www.crckidsillinois.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51&Itemid=30

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Visitation Issues / Supervised Visitation
« on: Jul 06, 2011, 04:55:48 PM »
Please also contact Children's Rights Council national office at www.crckids.org  for a list of Supervised Access and Transfer (aka 'supervised visitation') centers in your state.  For Illinois contact www.crckidsillinois.org  We have an updated list for Chicago area and for central Illinois.
 
 

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We have several NCP-moms (moms w/o custody) in our organization in Illinois.  If you are in that situation, please contact us so we can put you in touch with others.
 
Just search for our website with the key words below, drop us a line through the website, and we'll get back to you.
 
Mike D
 
Children's Rights Council of Illinois

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Our organization (CRC of Illinois) attended a hearing in Chicago last month on December 8.  Topic was Child Support reform for Illinois in year 2010.   Several state-level committees and agencies were represented.  If you'd like a copy of the report on the meeting, filed by one of our board members, please go to our website and drop us a line.  I'll be happy to send it to you.
 
Mike D
 
Children's Rights Council of Illinois
 
 

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Custody Issues / Re: State by State Legislation on Joint Custody
« on: Apr 23, 2009, 08:38:06 PM »
Dear Socrateaser -
 
I think you are on track.   I find these supposed "equal parenting" statutes in various states (and/or "shared parenting presumptions") are written vaguely enough to allow for judicial discretion to determine the  "best interest of the child" - including parenting-time shares -  which is, as we all know, an abyss.  When the Iowa statutes were passed, there was some high-fivin' amongst the fathers-rights groups.   But the judiciary found a way around the Iowa statutes, and the Iowa State Supreme Court backed it up. 
 
The statutes in Illinois are a case in point.  Our ILCS 750 IMDMA reads, "Unless the court finds the occurrence of ongoing abuse as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, the court shall presume that the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents regarding the physical, mental, moral, and emotional well-being of their child is in the best interest of the child. There shall be no presumption in favor of or against joint custody.".   
 
What could be more clear than that, one might ask?  Well, one part of the bail-out is "and cooperation" - if two parents are in court, well gee, at least on THAT day they clearly are not "cooperating".  ( Doesn't matter if they were cooperating, at least as parents, just fine for years while married).
 
Personally,  I find that Glenn Sacks raises a point that the EP (or 50-50) advocates have failed to adequately deal with  (See:  "A Common Fathers Rights Position Which is Problematic" , April 15, 2009 by Glenn Sacks).   The issue that Sacks brings up, and that I feel must be addressed if the 50-50 advocates want to achieve success, is child support.   Until that $1.3 billion question (in Illinois annual CS payments)  is dealt with on a professional and intelligent level, there's little chance any legislation will truly result in an EP-presumption. 
 
The other small problem is that there's little research, at least at this point, that would truly back a 50-50 split as "best for children".  (but, there ARE studies that support the notion of no less than 1/3 parenting time for either parent, as a minimum presumption.)
 
This is a very enjoyable thread.  I'd like to thank the various writers!
 
If if you'd like to continue this debate directly with me, please go to our website at
equalparentingillinois 'dot' org
You will find that we have been at this for more than a couple years in Illinois and are very well-grounded on the research and political dynamics in our state.
 
Sincerely,
 
Mike Doherty, CRC of Illinois
 
 
 
 

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Illinois State Forum / Re: Family Law: A time for Change?
« on: Mar 24, 2009, 10:36:38 AM »
Essentially, without activism, I believe it is unlikely we will see much change on the part of the Illinois judiciary regarding parenting time awards in adjudicated (contested) cases for years to come.   Our organization has presented the social science research that supports increased parenting time for non-custodial parents to judges, GALs, the Illinois Family Law Study Committee, and at university classes over the past two years.   We've also promoted awareness of the issue on radio shows and in Commentaries and Letters to the Editor that appeared on the Op-Ed sections of many of the leading newspapers in Illinois in June 2007 and 2008.  However, this is only a start.  We have a long ways to go in developing awareness of the child-unfriendly nature of the de facto "standard visitation schedule" in Illinois, its impact in increasind contention between parents in divorce cases,  and its elevation of the anxieties of children facing uncertain parental access.
 
It is our aim to see Illinois courts adopt parenting time awards in line with the expert opinion of nationally recognized child development specialists, like Dr. Joan B. Kelly, Dr. Kruk, and others.   CRC of Illinois developed a set of recommended changes in 2007, discussed the issues with the Chicago Bar Association in 2008, and delivered these to the Family Law Study Committee this January.
 
Illinois family law appears poised for reform, with or without the influence of advocacy groups supportive of the role of NCPs.  CRC of Illinois will continue to promote awareness of our research-supported recommendations for change.   Mothers that I have spoken to across the state react supportively to our recommendations.   GALs and attorneys see merit in our concept and are supportive, on the basis that it will reduce faux 'custody battles' that are actually thinly veiled 'visitation litigation'.  The Indiana Supreme Court issued 'rules of court' several years ago that resulted, given their courts' interpretation, in very similar minimum guidelines to those we are advocating.   According to CRC of Indiana, the impact of the new minimum guidelines has been very positive for separated families, with very little re-litigation of visitation cases. 
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Mike Doherty, CRC of Illinois
 
The author is a divorced father who cherishes his time with his child, is active in his church, and advocates for co-parenting after divorce.   He continues to serve on behalf of the Children's Rights Council of Illinois as chairman, to help Illinois meet the needs of the children of separated parents.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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On behalf of the Children's Rights Council of Illinois, I testified on January 26 of this year to the Illinois Family Law Study Committee.  The sub-title of my testimony was "A Time for Change".  We also provided the Committee with a lengthy recommendations report written by another CRC-IL Director.


We were the sole Illinois advocacy group for non-custodial parents to have been given the opportunity to testify to the Illinois Family Law Study Committee, so we felt we needed to focus on a single item that would be both compelling and yet inclusive of the primary desire of children of non-custodial parents:  The need to change Illinois' long-standing reluctance to award anything more than "every other weekend" overnights with their non-custodial dads and moms.  This judicial reluctance has made "every other weekend" a child-unfriendly de facto standard in Illinois that we believe damages children.   We attacked this protocol head on with social science research, not empty rhetoric, to best defend non-custodial parents who are attempting to do what's best for their children in Illinois courts.

We hope our testimony faithfully represented the views and needs of many of you on this site.  Other advocates were in the audience that day, including from Illinois Fathers, and we were able to share the construct of our CRC-IL Shared Parenting Initiative and the critical need to adopt "Minimum Parenting Guidelines" for Illinois, as in other states that now routinely award reasonable parenting time.



You may be interested in knowing that our not-for-profit corporation is the Illinois Chapter of the national Children’s Rights Council in Washington and that we focus specifically on creating greater inclusion of both parents for children of divorce.   We have a statewide network and have facilitated local area support meetings where noncustodial parents can discuss issues and share Best Parenting Practices.


We have built up a substantial collection of technical information, case histories, and research studies that others can use to help themselves do the best they can to improve their role as divorced/separated parents.

Regarding Illinois family law, in addition to our current recommendations directly to the Study Committee, we also served on an Illinois state bar association subcommittee throughout 2007 and 2008.  We continue to share our proposals with judges, attorneys, GALs, and provide them, along with state legislators, up to date information on the parenting impact of various policies.

We already have a Shared Parenting Initiative underway in Illinois and we are seeking more supporters.   If you are an activist with non-custodial parents, please check out our website and drop us a line. If you are facing challenges of non-custodial parenting, consider joining our Parenting Network by clicking on our website's homepage link.



Sincerely,
The Children’s Rights Council of Illinois

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[COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN]On behalf of the Children's Rights Council of Illinois, I testified on January 26 of this year to the Illinois Family Law Study Committee.  The sub-title of my testimony was "A Time for Change".  We also provided the Committee with a lengthy recommendations report written by another CRC-IL Director.[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN]We were the sole Illinois advocacy group for non-custodial parents to have been given the opportunity to testify to the Illinois Family Law Study Committee, so we felt we needed to focus on a single item that would be both compelling and yet inclusive of the primary desire of children of non-custodial parents:  The need to change Illinois' long-standing reluctance to award anything more than "every other weekend" overnights with their non-custodial dads and moms.  This judicial reluctance has made "every other weekend" a child-unfriendly de facto standard in Illinois that we believe damages children.   We attacked this protocol head on with social science research, not empty rhetoric, to best defend non-custodial parents who are attempting to do what's best for their children in Illinois courts.[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN]We hope our testimony faithfully represented the views and needs of many of you on this site.  Other advocates were in the audience that day, including from Illinois Fathers, and we were able to share the construct of our CRC-IL Shared Parenting Initiative and the critical need to adopt "Minimum Parenting Guidelines" for Illinois, as in other states that now routinely award reasonable parenting time.  [/COLOR]
[COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN]You may be interested in knowing that our not-for-profit corporation is the Illinois Chapter of the national Children’s Rights Council in Washington and that we focus specifically on creating greater inclusion of both parents for children of divorce.   We have a statewide network and have facilitated local area support meetings where noncustodial parents can discuss issues and share Best Parenting Practices.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN]We have built up a substantial collection of technical information, case histories, and research studies that others can use to help themselves do the best they can to improve their role as divorced/separated parents.   [/COLOR]
[COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN][/COLOR][COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN]Regarding Illinois family law, in addition to our current recommendations directly to the Study Committee, we also served on an Illinois state bar association subcommittee throughout 2007 and 2008.  We continue to share our proposals with judges, attorneys, GALs, and provide them, along with state legislators, up to date information on the parenting impact of various policies.[/COLOR]
[COLOR=#NaNNaNNaN]We already have a Shared Parenting Initiative underway in Illinois and we are seeking more supporters.   If you are an activist with non-custodial parents, please check out our website and drop us a line. If you are facing challenges of non-custodial parenting, consider joining our Parenting Network by clicking on our website's homepage link.

Sincerely,

Mike Doherty, Chairman,
The Children’s Rights Council of Illinois
[/COLOR]

 

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