If the other parent has run off with your kid, then you need to take action immediately. I have handled a number of these delicate child custody situations, and I treat them like a sting operation. If your child is taken by the other parent, there are some things you need to know.
When dealing with any Illinois child custody matter, emotions can run high. However, it’s necessary to play the long game, and to think strategically. Please check out the below article if your child has been take and you find yourself in an Illinois child custody emergency.
Know this: the other parent is lying
One thing that always amazes me is the thought patters of the parent who is left behind (the “Left Behind Parent”).
Let me give you an example.
- One parent tells the other the child will be taken out of state for a family matter
- The parenting taking the child, or “Taking Parent,” fails to return when planned, and won’t give a firm return date
- The Left Behind Parent tries to get assurance that the child is coming back, and accepts the Taking Parent’s assurances
- The Taking Parent files a case in whatever state that parent is in with the kid
- The Left Behind parent finally determines the Taking Parent lied before
- The Taking Parent tells the Left Behind Parent the child will return if XYZ happens
- The Left Behind Parent tries to make XYZ happen
- XYZ happens
- The Taking Parent does not bring the child back
- The Left Behind Parent finally gets a lawyer
The Left Behind Parent should have realized the Taking Parent was a liar way back at Step #2.
But now that all the time has passed – maybe even months – the Left Behind Parent is at a severe disadvantage. That’s something many people don’t understand.
If a Left Behind Parent is faced with a decision of whether or not to believe the other parent, then the Left Behind Parent must ask himself or herself this: Can I afford to be wrong about trusting the other parent?”
As an Illinois child custody lawyer, I can tell you the answer is almost surely “No.”
Listen to actions, not words.
We all want to hope for the best.
But please, don’t listen to someone’s words when that person’s actions are speaking differently.
What if I can up to you, said I wanted to be your friend, then punched you in the face and stole your money? Would you believe me if I can back the next day and said I about what happened, and actually want to be your friend now?
I’m pretty sure you would not. Why? I punched you in the face and that would tell you all you need to know about me.
But for some reason, the Left Behind Parent seems to often believe the Taking Parent.
The Left Behind Parent probably believes the Taking Parent because the alternative believe is too hard to deal with. Or because the Left Behind Parent thinks the Taking Parent would never do something so horrible as to simply take a child from Illinois to another state to permanently live there.
If you find yourself thinking those types of things then get ready to live in the hell you are actually helping to create.
Listen to the Taking Parent’s actions, and act accordingly.
What are the results of believing a lying Taking Parent?
If you still think you might want to believe the taking parent, you need to become more familiar with the child custody ramifications of believing a lying Taking Parent. They are serious.
First, and most obviously, your child will be in the other state longer than you expect.
But the results can be far more wide reaching than that.
It is possible for the other state to take jurisdiction of the child custody case. Simply put, jurisdiction is the court’s power to hear a case. In other words, even though your child is from Illinois, the state where the Taking Parent is might actually hear the child custody case. That seams strange, doesn’t it? And wrong? It very well may be strange, and wrong, but worse – it might actually be the law.
I don’t want to go into a long discussion here about when a state can hear a child custody case. But you should know that the longer your child is in the other state, the harder your case will be, and the more likely the child custody case will state in that other state. If you want little more detailed explanation of jurisdiction, check out this article I wrote about the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (the “UCCJEA”).
You have a child custody emergency
By this tiGhame you hopefully will be convinced that you have a child custody emergency if your child is taken to another state.
You need a lawyer.
If you tried to do this yourself, you will probably screw up. It’s not because your stupid. It’s simply because dealing with child custody emergencies isn’t your job. If try to handle a child custody emergency on your own, you could be doing your case serious harm.
If you don’t follow proper procedure there could be serious implications. Additionally, child custody emergencies are usually fluid – so you have to be able to react to changes in the case, and to respond accor dingly to the actions of the Taking Parent.
When I have represented people with child custody emergencies I have worked with the following:
- Private investigators
- Law enforcement
- Lawyers in other cities and states
- State’s attorneys
When you have a child custody emergency, you need to take action quickly, and to be able to adjust your actions appropriately.
On of the hard things about child custody cases is that it’s as lot of “he said, she said” nonsense. Maybe one person is actually telling the truth, but it is so hard to determine who that is that judges often don’t believe either party.
But child custody emergencies are high-stakes. Having the proper evidence can help your case.
One thing that I like to do is help my clients gather new evidence while the emergency is happening. It takes legal knowledge to gather proper evidence. For example, the evidence gathering has to be done by a legal method. Also, the evidence gathered should actually be useful.
As an Illinois child custody lawyer, I know what type of evidence should be useful in court. Often I am amble to help people gather evidence that is useful in a child custody case. I advise my clients as to what is useful evidence, and how to get it. If you are in a child custody emergency and your lawyer is not doing that, then you probably need a new lawyer. You might want to read this article about firing your divorce lawyer.
The ideal goal of evidence is to make certain facts undeniable. For example, a great piece of evidence would be a text message in which the Taking Parent says to the Left Behind Parent the following: “I’m never going to bring our child back and I’ll lie to get you in trouble with the police.”