When making decisions regarding a parent’s rights regarding his or her child, Illinois courts are expected to keep the child’s best interest as the top priority. While the desires of the parent do matter, it is up to the court to determine if the parent’s wishes are based on what is best for the child. Such will be the case in a few short weeks when a Bloomington woman is scheduled to appear in McClean County court to request custody—or parental responsibilities as it is now known in Illinois law—of her infant daughter. The complicating factor, however, is that the woman is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for child endangerment in connection with the beating death of her 3-year-old son in 2011.
Terminating Parental Rights
Earlier this month, state officials filed a request to terminate the parental rights of the woman and her husband regarding the little girl, who will soon be a year old. The woman and her husband contested the state’s motion and a trial date has been set for October. The state’s case is based on the mother’s behavior related to her deceased son, who died in 2013 following multiple beatings at the hands of the woman’s boyfriend at the time. The man—who is not her current husband—was convicted of the boy’s murder and is serving a life sentence.
The mother, however, pleaded guilty to child endangerment for failing to get her son medical attention and for leaving him with her abusive boyfriend. She was sentenced to eight years in prison, and her term began shortly after her infant daughter was born last year. The child has been in foster care ever since. The woman is projected to be eligible for parole in April 2020 with a release date in April 2021. While state officials are concerned that the woman and her husband have not complied with counseling requirements, it will be up to the judge to determine if their rights should be completely terminated.
Terminating a parent’s rights to his or her child is not a decision that is taken lightly by the court. Such action will only be taken if it is found to be absolutely necessary to protect the child’s health and well-being.
If you are a divorced, separated, or unmarried parent and you are worried that your child is in danger when he or she is with the other parent, contact a compassionate, experienced Kane County family law attorney. We can help you take steps to keep your child safe and to limit the other parent’s rights in accordance with the law. Call Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., at 630-377-7770 today for your free initial consultation.