Admissibility of evidence of abuse and prior bad acts involving children who are not mine in an Illinois custody case?

Asked over 1 year ago - Rock Falls, IL

Fighting for custody of my son in Illinois. Mother has 4 children, from 3 men who live in 3 states. Her eldest 2 children were removed by the state of Florida and to this day she only has third party supervised visitation. Those children live with her parents. Her third child was supposed to be taken in Florida but she fled while she was pregnant so that child is still in her custody as well as my son. I have video and picture evidence that she has abused and neglected both my son and her daughter. I also have had 3 people sit down with a PI and make statements of having witnessed abuse. My attorney is trying to get me to settle for the typical joint custody arrangement through mediation to avoid trial. He is not confident that these prior bad acts will be admissible or considered.

Additional information

Should i look for a more aggressive attorney or cave and take what i get? I am concerned for the welfare and best interest of my child. The other child in her custody is going on 4 years old and has called me daddy since she was 18 months old when i met the mother.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. David Matthew Gotzh

    Contributor Level 19

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You state you are represented. We are barred from advising knowingly represented people unless the person is coming to us directly (ie, not through anonymous AVVO questions) with the intention of looking for replacement counsel.

  2. Judy A. Goldstein

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You have a lawyer. We cannot second guess him. If you are not comfortable with your lawyer, seek a second (or even a third) opinion. We cannot help you online as we do not have the benefit of all the fact.

  3. Barry Cahn Boykin

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . I agree with both counsel regarding the specifics.

    Speaking VERY generally, there is something of a misconception that catching another parent in prior bad acts will win or lose a custody dispute. It is only one of many factors. The bad acts have to relate to the children who are the subject of the dispute. If the mother is abusive to all children in her care, why haven't third party mandated reporters investigated and removed the children from her care? A parent who flees a jurisdiction to avoid culpability and/or to protect the third child--why hasn't she been extradited back to face the music?

    There are SO many questions that are beyond the scope of this general advice board. You may see that there is no simple 10 minute answer to this complex issue.

    The information provided here should not be construed to be formal legal advice. The provision of this general... more

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