Governor Signs Memorial Law for Father Killed during Visitation

Posted on in Child Custody and Support

In 2008, Steven Watkins went to Jennifer’s his estranged wife’s, home in Ashland to pick up his daughter.  This was a court-ordered visit based on a custody agreement that the two had when they divorced.  When he went to the door he was met by Jennifer’s grandmother and a gun.  Steven was shot to death on that day in November.  Currently, 76 year old Shirley Skinner is serving a 55 year prison term for being convicted of the murder.

After the death of their son, Steven’s parents were awarded visitation of their granddaughter by a county judge in Cass County in the fall of 2010.  Unfortunately, his parents never really had a chance to capitalize on these rights because their granddaughter was taken out of Illinois.  Jennifer Watkins relocated her daughter to Florida and has not allowed the Watkins to exercise their visitation rights.  The court has tried to enforce this ruling, even having Jennifer arrested for five months in Florida.

Governor Pat Quinn had the “Steven Watkins” memorial bill on his desk from August 22nd of this year.  The purpose of this bill, also known as Senate Bill 3823, is to protect a non-custodial parent’s visitation rights.  The bill allows judges to suspend drivers’ licenses, assess fines, order makeup time and imprison individuals who deny visitation rights to the non-custodial parent without good cause.  This kind of visitation abuse that the entire Watkins family has suffered through is unfair and detrimental to a child’s development.  He signed the bill into law on Tuesday, August 21st

Everyone is entitled to be a part of their children’s lives even if they are separated from their spouses.  If you have a visitation agreement that is not being maintained, you have more legal means to change it.  Please don’t miss out on your children’s lives anymore.  Contact an experienced family law attorney in Geneva to review your visitation rights or any other aspect of family law.

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