Dad wins in court to get child enrolled in school
One of a father’s most important responsibilities is to protect his children, says Chicago-based family law attorney Jeffery M. Leving, founder and president of the Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving Ltd. “Fathers come to us because they are greatly concerned that their children are in danger, or are being abused or neglected,” Leving says.
Sometimes the neglect is food, clothing or medical care. On his radio program Saturday, April 1, Leving will speak about a case in which the reported neglect was education. His weekly show, the Dads’ Rights Legal Hour, airs 9-10 a.m. CDT on Power 92.3 FM in Chicago.
Dad has a daughter who has just reached school age. In fact, she should have started kindergarten last August – but according to court documents, the child’s mother repeatedly failed to enroll the child in school.
“We understood that the mother had promised many times to do it, but reportedly never got around to it,” Leving says. “Dad came to us with this problem, and we felt that a court order was needed. When we told the judge about this, he agreed that this was a very important issue, and he resolved it as we asked: ordering the mother to enroll the child in school immediately. I’ve just been informed that the little girl is now in school, where she belongs. We won.”
This is a victory, modified for broadcast, that may have a huge impact on this little girl’s life. “Once a child falls behind in school, it can be difficult to catch up, and being behind in school can snowball into other problems,” Leving says. “It is my earnest hope that our intervention in the courtroom protected this little girl and helped build a better future for her.”
Leving also will speak about false allegations of child abuse and neglect that are leveled against fathers. “I believe an opposing party involved in a divorce may utilize these allegations in order to wrongly gain an order of protection or DCFS [Illinois Department of Children and Family Services] finding of abuse, which then may be improperly used for leverage in the divorce. Today I also want to caution fathers against something else: Don’t take lightly false allegations of abuse or neglect against you that are motivated not by malice, but by error. These are equally dangerous.”
Sometimes a teacher or a doctor – or someone else mandated by law to report suspected abuse and neglect – will notice an injury and lodge a complaint. The injury may well have been caused by an accident, or intentionally by an individual other than the father – perhaps the mother, her new boyfriend, or some other family member, or even another kid on the playground – yet somehow, the blame incorrectly ends up targeting dad.
“The point I want to drive home is that whether a false abuse or neglect allegation is malicious and lodged by somebody who knows it’s false – or whether it comes from somebody who is merely mistaken – it is still false,” Leving says. “Don’t let anyone tell you that a DCFS abuse investigation is routine and nothing to worry about. An indicated finding of abuse or neglect can cause a father to lose his children. When DCFS opens an abuse investigation, it’s often difficult to be exonerated.”
Furthermore, a father’s name can be placed on the State Central Register, which could follow him for the rest of his life. It can be like a time bomb, with the potential to explode and cause personal and professional consequences at any time.
Leving says a father should have legal representation if he is the target of an abuse investigation, and he has a right to contest a DCFS finding. “My firm has a wealth of experience and a record of success in this area,” he says. “If you’re in this situation, you must not take it lightly. I fight for the vindication of those falsely accused.”
Jeffery M. Leving is founder and president of the Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving Ltd., and is a strong advocate. He is the author of Fathers’ Rights, Divorce Wars and How to be a Good Divorced Dad, the latter of which was endorsed by President Obama and by Cardinal Francis E. George, then the archbishop of Chicago. To learn more about Leving and his latest court victories, follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and view his videos on You Tube.
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