A dedicated stay-at-home LDS mother I know in Illinois is going through a divorce in which the father, a professional with a heavy-duty job, is surprising those who know the family well by claiming that all along he has been the primary caregiver for the kids. He’s after custody of the kids and wants to raise them in another religion. (Battles over the religion of the children are one of the disadvantages to marrying outside one’s faith.)
On the face of it, I expected this custody battle to be an easy victory for the mother. However, I hear that Illinois has a new law that affects child custody, and allegedly makes it easier for fathers (at least in their neck of the woods). In fact, in the particular situation here, the family evaluator appointed for this case is a man who is known for advancing the theory that women alienate their children from fathers. Incredibly, in the last 70 cases the family evaluator has worked with, so I am told, every single case resulted in a recommendation for custody being awarded to the father. 70 for 70!
So what’s up with all you abusive moms who turn your kids away from poor ol’ dad? Yes, I know there are cases where the father really is a victim or really does deserve custody, but 70 out of 70?
I asked why the judge doesn’t throw the guy out and challenge his track record. There’s an easy answer, as there often is in the grand state of Illinois (so a lawyer from Illinois has told me). The divorce judge and the family evaluator are best friends. They go on walks together, hang out together, and appararently enjoy working together to hand kids over to downtrodden fathers. Looks like they’re heading for 71 out of 71, unless the mother comes up with a lot of cash to hire a second evaluator to dispute the findings of the appointed evaluator, and engage in more costly and time-consuming legal battles. This will add months and many thousands of dollars to an already expensive and painful battle.
How terrible divorce is, especially in a corrupt legal system.
Any of you have any experience with the Illinois system or advice for the mother?