Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shoplifting mom loses custody through an Order of Protection

Orders of protection are very powerful tools in custody disputes but they must be used wisely - if at all. In a recently reported case, a mother lost custody of her children because of repeated arrests for shoplifting. In re Marriage of Holtrof (Kane County, 2010 - see link below) At least one of the arrests happened when one the children was with her at time of arrest and once when she left some of the children in the car with the engine running while she was in the store. The appellate court stated that such activities equaled "abuse" because the arrests occurred with the children present (it was not "neglect" because neglect only applies to adults with disabilities.)

This case is a good illustration of the general principle that custody cases can get into much of the detail of one’s life even if not directly related to the children. Essentially, if it is done in front of the children, it might be relevant to the court in a custody dispute. I have seen this where the custodial parent allows activities to be done in the presence of the children (sexual conduct, drugs, crimes) and it affects custody even when the parent may not have been taking part in the activity or even approving of it.

Link to Case:

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