SPRINGFIELD, IL—Illinois State Senator William Delgado (D-Chicago) met with constituents today at the 3rd Annual Fatherless Day rally in Springfield. This rally was sponsored by Illinois Fathers, a not-for-profit organization whose goal is to ensure that non-custodial parents maintain a meaningful and substantial relationship with their children.
"Illinois Fathers works to assist and educate the general public about the importance of non-custodial parent/child relationship," said Senator Delgado, Chairman of the Senate Public Health Committee. "This bill is in reaction to a situation that occurred recently in Central Illinois."
Steve Watkins was a central Illinois non-custodial parent whose visitation was continuously being blocked by the custodial parent despite repeated legal attempts at seeking remedy. He was murdered while attempting to exercise visitation by a family member of the custodial parent. When visitation was granted to the parents of the deceased, the custodial parent moved to another state refusing to comply with the court order.
This rally was held in support of House Bill 1604, which would allow a judge to impose civil penalties for violating a court order that allows for visitation by the non-custodial parent. If visitation is denied the court may order a suspension of the custodial parent’s Illinois driver’s license until it is determined that visitation has been allowed. In addition to this, the court would also be able to suspend a parent’s professional license for up to six months. The court may also find that a party is guilty of a petty offense and order a fine of no more than $500.
This measure also provides that if a parent has previously been found in contempt by the court, the court may further incarcerate the offending parent for each day of denied visitation and require the offending party to post a $5,000 bond to assure visitation is allowed in the future.