Domestic Violence and DCFS Cases

Illinois Domestic Violence and DCFS Investigations

At the Barrington office of Thomas W. Hunter, Attorney at Law, we have worked for many years with women's shelters in the suburbs of Chicago to assist with counsel and representation for victims of domestic violence and spousal abuse. At the same time, we also offer advice and defense in court for men and women who are falsely accused of domestic violence, especially in divorce or child custody proceedings where the accusation amounts to an unfair tactical advantage. To learn more about our ability to provide effective representation in cases involving charges of domestic violence, child abuse, or other serious family problems, contact us for a free consultation.

Our ability to help individuals and families with real or alleged problems with domestic violence results from our long experience with the range of behavioral and emotional problems characteristic of domestic violence, the local resources for addressing problems with family violence and child abuse, and the legal and administrative procedures for investigating reports and protecting victims. Cases we handle include:

  • Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by one spouse or domestic partner against another
  • Applications for domestic violence orders for protection
  • Enforcement of orders for protection
  • Reports and investigations of child abuse or neglect
  • Motions for modification of a child custody or visitation decree based on child abuse, child neglect, or family violence

In cases involving allegations of violence, threats, or abuse between spouses or domestic partners, the case can generally be investigated and resolved without the intervention of state or local child protection agencies. We represent both victims of domestic violence and the alleged perpetrators. In our experience, it is not unusual for someone to have an order for protection entered against them only to discover at a contested hearing that there never was any basis for granting the application.

We also represent parents in investigations conducted by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), which has primary responsibility for reports of child abuse and neglect. Where a likelihood of abuse or neglect is indicated in the preliminary stages of a DCFS investigation, the agency can apply to Juvenile Court for an order revoking child custody or unsupervised visitation rights. Under certain circumstances, DCFS can also apply for an order terminating parental rights, which essentially ends a parent's relationship with his or her child.

Not only can a finding of abuse or neglect of a child result in very serious consequences for the parent-child relationship, it can also lead to action against a professional license, loss of a security clearance, or other career problems. We have seen situations where an impulsive or vindictive report of neglect by one divorced parent against another has led to problems well beyond what the complaining parent had in mind at the time of a false or exaggerated report.

Our lawyers' experience with the full range of domestic violence and child protection cases can make a very substantial difference to the outcome of your problem, whether you need protection and effective intervention in a case of family violence, or need instead to defend yourself against charges of abuse or neglect at an agency hearing or on appeal. Contact us in Barrington to learn more about your legal options.