Will I Lose Custody if My Child Commits a Crime?

 Posted on April 19, 2024 in Child Custody and Support

Geneva, IL child custody lawyerIn Illinois, a minor who commits a crime or attempts to commit a crime is called a “juvenile delinquent.” Depending on the crime, the child and his or her parents may only receive a warning.

The law gets more severe, however, in cases where a child has committed a serious offense, such as a felony, or if a child has committed a crime several times. This can lead to the parents losing custody of their child.

If your child has allegedly committed a crime, contact a family law attorney in Illinois who is experienced in juvenile law and can explain your options.

This article will discuss juvenile law in Illinois and when it might cause a parent to lose custody of his or her child.

How Are Juveniles Treated in Illinois?

Some crimes are less serious than others. If your child is absent from school without a good reason, for example, he or she has committed truancy. Truancy is a crime, but it is not a criminal offense in Illinois. If your child is caught out of school without a valid reason, you can expect a warning from the school district’s truant officer.

If your child misses at least 5% of school days, however, he or she becomes a “chronic truant.” In that case, the school district will try to enroll your child in what the law calls “supportive services” such as alternative learning programs. If these do not work, the school district can file a petition against you in juvenile court. Under Illinois law, you may be fined and the school district may get the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) involved. 

The DCFS is also likely to get involved if a child under 13 commits a felony, like vehicular hijacking. This is referred to as juvenile delinquency. If the child is 13 or over, he or she may be tried as an adult and, if convicted, can be placed in a juvenile detention center.

Will I Lose Custody?

Once the DCFS gets involved, they will open a case and investigate whether you are guilty of any of the following:

  • Neglect

  • Emotional, physical, or sexual abuse

  • Dependency, meaning the child is not receiving proper care

If the investigation finds that you have committed any of the above, the DCFS may file a petition in juvenile court. If the judge agrees with the investigation’s findings, you are likely to lose custody. You may also have your parental rights terminated. 

If you lose custody of the child, the DCFS will determine the best living arrangement for him or her. A court might order that the child be placed in the custody of your co-parent or a relative. If that is not possible, the child will be placed in foster care or a shelter facility. The DCFS will also decide whether you retain the right to visit your child.

Contact a Geneva, IL Family Lawyer

If you think your child has committed a crime, seek legal help from a Kane County, Illinois family law attorney who is skilled in juvenile law. The attorney will explain to you what to expect in your particular case and will walk you through the legal processes. Contact The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates, where the attorneys are skilled in juvenile law and are willing to go to court on your behalf if necessary. Call 630-232-9700 for a consultation today.

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