Vigil promotes shared parent visitation rights :: The SouthtownStar :: News

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Foster Care, Foster CAre Abuse, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on September 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Vigil promotes shared parent visitation rights

September 13, 2009

Richard Thomas had sole custody of his two teenage sons for two years until the day in 2007 when they visited their mother and never returned.

Today, Thomas’ sons are in foster care while he fights to regain custody. His battle began when his boys were visiting their mother and she decided to drop them off at a police station with instructions to say they had run away from home. The police believed their story and contacted the Department of Children and Family Services, Thomas said.

“This was a trick to steal custody from me,” Thomas said Thursday night during a candlelight vigil at the Markham courthouse. “She gets to see them every week. I don’t.”

Thomas was one of several individuals at the vigil, which was designed to promote shared parenting after divorce.

Participants held candles, glow sticks, posters and banners and encouraged drivers on Kedzie Avenue to honk their horns in support of parental rights.

“We would love not to be here tonight,” said Kerry Sandusky, of Kankakee. “We would love to be with our kids tonight.”

Sandusky hasn’t seen his son in more than a year.

“The day (his mother) told me she was pregnant, she walked out,” Sandusky said. “I just want to see him – equal time.”

The protesters’ anger was directed in several directions, including family court officials, who they say discriminates against fathers, state agencies that divide families and lawyers who are motivated by money rather than successful outcomes for their clients.

Specifically, participants lashed out at various state agencies for intentionally alienating one parent – often the father – from his children. They added that prolonged custody battles not only harm the children involved, but provide job security to government workers and enhance the government collections business.

State governments receive federal reimbursement based on the amount of child support they collect, so it’s to their advantage to keep families apart, protesters said.

“Everyone has a story. Everyone has something in common,” said vigil organizer Carrie Adams, of Palos Heights.

Adams divorced in 1999 after 19 years of marriage. She had full visitation rights while living Downstate, but was prevented from seeing her children when she moved to the Southland.

“I got close and that’s when the separation began,” she said. “There’s no fairness.”

Vigil promotes shared parent visitation rights :: The SouthtownStar :: News.

  1. […] across multiple social demographics. Indeed, we are all fair game. The event was covered by the Press. Thank you to the Chicago Sun-Times for coming out and covering the […]

  2. Thank you for reposting this story. The SouthTown removed the article and it is an event we were pleased to carry out. We moved the link on our site to this page to reference the article. Thank you again for keeping an eye out.

  3. […] Vigil promotes shared parent visitation rights :: The … […]

  4. […] Vigil promotes shared parent visitation rights :: The … […]

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