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August 22, 2012 – Illinois Says Access to Children Important

Yesterday, Senate Bill 3823 became public law PA 97-1047 in the state of Illinois.  Parents who have had little recourse in stopping visitation interference by the other parent welcome the newly enacted statute which goes into effect immediately.

Led by Illinois Fathers, an ACFC affiliate, a coalition of groups and individuals worked for nearly two years to see the bill through the legislative process.  SB 3823 began after a meeting on a cold December evening in 2010 when Illinois Fathers Executive Director, General Parker and ACFC Exec. Dir.  Mike McCormick met with Dale and Penny Watkins at Panera Bread in Springfield.  The Watkins son, Steve, had been murdered several years earlier by his daughter’s maternal grandmother as he went to pick her up for visitation.  Steve was regularly denied access to his daughter in violation of court orders.  Dale and Penny embraced the idea of working together to initiate a bill providing parents with a statute to address interference.

The road for this bill to become law was not smooth.  Opposition came from several of the usual sources, namely the state’s domestic violence coalitions and initially also from the Illinois state bar association.  Early efforts by these groups were aimed at killing the legislation entirely.  They were nearly successful, but as time went on more and more legislators began to understand the significant problem of access interference.  Efforts to educate legislators continued throughout 2011 and into 2012. 

The goal for this bill was to create a statute mirroring the sanctions the state applies in cases where parents who had the capacity to pay child support did not.  There is a logical inconsistency in the state having sanctions for non-payment of support but nothing in the way of help for parents denied a relationship with their children.  SB3823 would give judges the leeway to suspend drivers licenses, assess fines, order probation and/or incarcerate parents interfering with child access.

After countless hours of meetings, press conferences, information sharing sessions and phone calls and visits to the state house by citizens SB3823 passed both the Senate and House of Representatives unanimously earlier this year.  Democrats and Republicans joined together to rise above partisan politics and enact a bill meant to benefit the children of Illinois. SB 3823 was sent to Governor Quinn’s office in June and became law yesterday.

Congratulations to everyone who joined in this effort.  And special thanks to Senator John Sullivan and Representative Connie Howard for their leadership, dedication and concern for Illinois families and children.

Click here for the bill and legislative history.

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Comments

Randolph Sweezy

Fat chance for me to change California's anything but "Family" laws.

Last time I saw my son was when he was 7 years old. The expense cost me and my current Family and now 6 year old Daughter and Wife of 12 years our home.

The Rich mothers parents with their money has seen to it that I never have any contact with my son who is now 14 years old using lies and very expensive Attorney's.

Don't waste your money Fathers. The courts are against you, and all your efforts only will cause you more pain, false hope and you will go bankrupt in the process.

I live in Hawaii and my son lives in Santa Cruz Calif.

I have no more money to continue this pointless go no-where legal process to get even the barest of any form of any shared parenting from the mother and certainly NOT from the courts.

Save your money Dads. It will never get you access to your children in your lifetime if the "Mother" doesn't want you to have any.

Goodluck.

Randy Sweezy

September 2, 2012, 1:33 AM
Reply
Steven Grados

Even though Senate Bill 3823 has passed in the state of Illinois it still does not enforce the blatant corruption that occurs in the family court, particularly the family court of the 16th District of DeKalb County, Illinois. During my divorce "proceeding", I never received a written Court order for visitation, even though obvious parent alienation was taking place by my ex. In fact, the Court seemed to encourage this type of behavior. It is unbelievable and sad for the children of divorced parents that this type of judicial misconduct is allowed to go unchecked,and/or covered up by Appellate Courts and the Attorney General's office. In order for this bill to be effective it first needs to be put into the clean hands of a Judge who will use common sense and act in good faith. This can only be accomplished by taking appropriate steps by the appropriate agencies to "weed out" the current regime.

September 19, 2012, 11:52 AM
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Johahn

I for one Texan applaud the efforts of Illl. I believe Texans should get of thier butts and follow suit. Judges can be voted IN or OUT. Now is the time to contact our politiions. Everything they say custodial alienation is true. Slowly but surely until your child reaches his or her teens they drift away. Usually they drift to the parent receiving child support,or towards the parent with the most money and those parents are the ones who can afford attourneys. Are there any attourmeys out there willing to do the right thing, instead of chasing the almighty dollar?

October 2, 2012, 10:27 AM
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Johahn

To future husbands and fathers. If you intend to get married do a background check,also if she has been divourced ,talk to exhusband. It might be awkward but it might save you alot of hell. Another thing to find out: take a gond look at her mother, she may turn out to look and act like her. If the girl to be married parents divourced and the girl takes the mothers side then the girl may speak ill of her father behind his back but she will use his strategies in matters of divource. Be very aware of women who are secretly staunch femminist. A women who relies on ultimatums in serious matters is nothing more than a terrorist and will lie and cheat to get what she wants. But a secret femminist is just as bad. They will wait until your at your weakest like a job loss and or close death in the family. Its true it happened to me. My son was born in 1994 and as he got older we were joined at the hip. I fought for custody. I taped our phone for over a year and found out how nonchalant she was about our marriage and adultry but the court with judge Chesire didn't care. She had a degree in pyhcology and used it to brainwash my son. Now my son is 17 and won't even talk to me.

October 2, 2012, 7:06 PM
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John Brosnan

A typical family court experience that many fathers might relate to: http://nomoresecretsandlies.blogspot.com.

No More Secrets and Lies

A true story about the extreme measures taken by Blue Earth County in Minnesota and the State of Minnesota to separate a child with a mental disability from the only person who was able to help her — her father.

"A story to be shared and read by Social Workers all over the world."

Comment by a Social Work site on Facebook.

John Brosnan

507-304-3383

johnbrosnan2010@yahoo.com

October 31, 2012, 6:17 PM
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