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blog home Child Allocation Illinois Parents Who Break Agreements Would Lose Driver’s Licenses Under New Bill

Illinois Parents Who Break Agreements Would Lose Driver’s Licenses Under New Bill

By Nottage and Ward on May 10, 2011

According to ConnectTriStates.com, House Bill 1604, also known as the Steven Watkins bill, was recently passed by the Illinois House by a vote of 78-36 and now goes before the Senate. If passed, the bill would increase the penalties a custodial parent would face if they willfully violated visitation rulings ordered by the court that relate to non-custodial parents. Parents in Illinois who do not comply with visitation orders would have their driver’s license suspended for six months, face fines of up to $500 per day, and face possible jail time.

The bill stems from the murder of Steven Watkins, a non-custodial father in Illinois, who was shot to death in 2008 by his ex-wife’s grandmother when he came to pick up his daughter for his court-ordered visitation. The woman was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 55 years in prison. Now, the parents of Watkins want to see their granddaughter, but her mother has taken her to Florida and ignored several court orders to return to Illinois.

Opponents of the bill have stated that they question whether the bill is constitutional, and also claim the bill may be harmful, citing instances where domestic abusers would have easier access to their children, if the bill passes. Supporters of the bill say opponents have made comments that were based on unfounded speculation and note that the Supreme Court of Illinois maintains parents and grandparents are entitled to visitation.

At Nottage and Ward, our Chicago family law lawyers have the experience and skills you need to protect your legal rights as well as those of your children during a custody dispute in Illinois. We understand the laws surrounding child custody and visitation and can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of the options available to you. To learn how our attorneys can help you determine what best suits your needs, call 312-332-2915.

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