New relationships of your ex can always be full of concern. You find yourself dealing with a third-party who has not been vetted and someone who your ex has selected. While many significant others are harmless, in some instances, they can have a criminal past. This becomes especially concerning if they are classified as a sex offender.
In such instances, the Illinois statute on Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (750 ILCS 5/600 et seq.) provides some guidance on what to do in these awkward and scary situations.
750 ILCS 5/609.5 is titled “Notification of remarriage or residency with a sex offender.” This section states that “A parent who intends to marry or reside with a sex offender, and knows or should know that the person with whom he or she intends to marry or reside is a sex offender, shall provide reasonable notice to the other parent with whom he or she has a minor child prior to the marriage or the commencement of the residency.”
This is important because this allows the other parent to raise an objection to this or potentially limit the parenting time for the parent who is planning on residing with the sex offender. While a parent cannot unilaterally decide to reduce or terminate this parent’s parenting time, they may, depending on the specific circumstance, file a motion, such as a Motion to Modify Parenting Time, and ask the judge to modify parenting time based on the other parent planning to reside with a sex offender.
For issues concerning the minor children, an Illinois court defers to the “best interest standard”. The court will always decide what ought to happen with the minor children based on what is in the minor children’s best interest.
750 ILCS 5/602.7(a) specifically states that “the court shall allocate parenting time according to the child’s best interests.” Similarly under 750 ILCS 5/602.7(b), the Court… “presumes both parents are fit and the court shall not place any restrictions on parenting time as defined in Section 600 and described in Section 603.10, unless it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a parent’s exercise of parenting time would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.” Therefore, it becomes the concern of the parent to raise a timely objection to the parent intending to marry or reside with a sex offender, and it is their burden to show that this new relationship would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health and therefore warrant a reduction or termination of parenting time.
The statute lays out factors for “determining the child’s best interests for purposes of allocating parenting time, and while this is not exhaustive, it provides, without limitation, 17 factors. Factor 15 provides that an Illinois Court should consider “whether one of the parents is a convicted sex offender or lives with a convicted sex offender and, if so, the exact nature of the offense and what if any treatment the offender has successfully participated in…” The statute further states that “the parties are entitled to a hearing on the issues raised in this paragraph (15).”
This is clearly a very serious concern and issue and one that should be raised as soon as it is found out. Continuing parenting time without objection after your ex’s partner’s sex offender status has been discovered may not be in the children’s best interests.