Is it possible to have a court award of only 2 hours time with your son every week? Is it possible to be forced into a center that charges $30 an hour to watch you play patty cake with your two year old son? Is it possible for that visitation center to be filled with empty beer bottles? Is it possible this is in the best interests of our children?
Apparently so in the Markham Courthouse in Cook County (Chicago).
Illinois Fathers would like to bring your attention to Mr. Kerry Sandusky. Kerry has a two year old son, who was born out of wedlock. Shortly before the birth of his child, Kerry's ex-girlfriend moved away with his son. After refusing all visitation to Kerry for nearly a year, Kerry pursued visitation rights in the courtroom. Following the usual litigation routine that most non-custodial parents undergo, Kerry was ordered to have a home study that revealed he had a broken porch step on his property. Kerry has since moved away from this property, however, after spending much needed money on an attorney as well as investing much of his time, the Judge in his case authorized Kerry to spend a mere 2 hours a week of supervised visitation time with his son in a certified visitation center.
This based solely on the condition that the opposing attorney requested a psychological evaluation and the home study identified a broken porch step. We have not been able to identify any proof of any psychological conditions having ever existed on Kerry's behalf to warrant such a request. The problem, as we sees it, is that Kerry has not done anything wrong, or even been accused of doing anything that would justify he and his son being limited to the 2 hours a week of supervised visitation. Of great concern is that at 2 years old, this child is at the formative stages of his life. This is the time that this child defines his parental relationships and its highly questionable how that can occur at only 2 hours a week. There's no doubt that significant damage to the relationship between Kerry and his son has already occurred due to the extremely limited time they see each other, but what happens if this extremely limited time is allowed to continue? So we ask the question, "Is 2 hours enough?"
Kerry does not have the funds to afford a high paced attorney and without a generous out flowing of emotional support from the community, we fear that his relationship with his son is in danger. Illinois Fathers and their members have attempted to find alternatives to this course of action by volunteering our time to supervise Kerry at no cost on our own time, however, our members' attempts were refuted by the Judge. All this is despite the condition of the visitation center that the Court orders Kerry to go to. Kerry has photographed a barrel full of empty beer bottles(available here) in the visitation center, and he has also noted that the A/C and heat do not even work. Instead, they provide a space heater. Certainly, the love of a parent and a broken step is better than these conditions at a visitation center with beer and no heat. We question, highly, if this is in the best interests of this child!
Illinois Fathers has been unable to find an e-mail address for Judge Martin D. Coghlan, who is the Judge in Kerry's case. However, Kerry's case has been written about before in both the Kankakee newspaper, and also a Cook County Newspaper, (The Daily Southtown). We are encouraging our membership to contact both of these newspapers and ask a simple question, "Is 2 hours enough?". Letters to Judge Coghlan and phone calls to the court house are also highly encouraged. Note that they will probably not respond via phone, but simply ask to leave the message in regards to Kerry's case, "Is 2 hours enough?".
John O'Brien or John Stein, The Daily Southtown is 708 / 633 - 4800 or 708 / 633 - 6777 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Judge Martin Coghlan - Cook County Municipal Judge, District 6, Room 204Q, 16501 South Kedzie, Markham, Illinois 60471 - (708) 210-4170 (708) 210-4170