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Illinois family law covers a wide variety of cases involving spouses, children, and other family relations. While many family law cases involve divorce, child custody issues, and child support matters, other types of cases may focus on domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect allegations. If you are concerned about your child’s well being, or if you are facing allegations of child neglect, it is imperative that you act quickly in order to ensure the safety of your children. An experienced attorney in DuPage County can help you take the necessary steps to help you understand how to protect your children from neglect.
Definition of Child Neglect
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) defines child neglect as “a parent or responsible caretaker fail[ing] to provide adequate supervision, food, clothing, shelter or other basics for a child.” This definition centers on the care, or lack thereof, for a child. A child’s caretaker, most commonly his or her parent, is legally responsible with providing basic, reliable care. When the parent fails to provide that necessary care, he or she could face serious legal consequences.
Illinois, like every state, requires certain persons to report suspected instances of child neglect. These mandatory reporters include teachers, doctors, childcare workers, and homemakers. Once someone reports child neglect, DCFS initiates an investigation within 24 hours. These investigations can last up to 60 days, and the final report will indicate whether or not child neglect has occurred. If neglect is indicated, DCFS will work with the family to improve the child’s safety and well being. However, in severe cases, DCFS may take temporary custody of the child, pending further legal processes.
Neglect Accusations in Divorce
During your divorce, you may be concerned about your spouse’s ability to care for your child. If you are concerned that your child is being neglected while in your spouse’s care, or while in the care of your spouse’s relatives, it is important to take action immediately. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you deal with this issue quickly and effectively while remaining focused on your child’s best interests.
Though it certainly does not occur in every divorce, sometimes divorcing spouses may falsely allege child neglect to gain custody. Child neglect cases are treated seriously under Illinois law, and can quickly become complex. If you are facing a child neglect case, even under false accusations, you have legal rights that need to be protected. Your divorce attorney can protect those rights, while working to ensure that a false accusation does not wrongfully affect your custody rights.
Experienced DuPage County Child Neglect AttorneysAt the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, we understand the serious nature of child neglect cases. Whether you are facing accusations, or you are concerned about your child’s welfare, you should consult with an experienced DuPage County family lawyer immediately. Contact our firm today to schedule a free initial consultation, and learn more about your legal options.