Listen, everybody who has a pool knows there is an inherent risk of an injury involved. Every year homeowners spend countless hours worrying about whether they closed the gate properly, when they left the house for a weekend out of town. Having a pool in your back yard can be a double-edged sword when you consider the liability you experience as a homeowner. The neighbor kids always want to play in the pool and if you are like most parents, you will worry and watch those kids like a hawk.
Ask Usher about pool safety! In recent news reports are the entertainer’s 5-year-old whose arm allegedly was stuck in the family’s pool drain on Monday, when in the care of Usher’s aunt, who was watching the child at the time. Of course, and with this couple, as reasonably anticipated, Usher’s ex-wife and mother of their child filed for emergency court relief, seeking custody.[i]
Is Usher a negligent parent who should be stripped of custody of his sons? Fans say no.
On commenter to the TMZ article stated, “so happy to see a real man step up and raise his kids…,” and another remarked, “Listen everyone involved, these horrible things happen, so don’t feel guilt…”
Usher’s ex-wife raised complaints in the past, alleging that the parties’ children are in danger and that their aunt is too physical in disciplining the kids, had let a stalker into the house, according to the TMZ article. The ex-wife may very well enjoy the recent unfortunate mishap as it opened the door to her emergency court filing which put her in the limelight.
Custody law in Illinois and basis for modifying custody judgments
In Illinois, modification of child custody is not favored, “unless it finds by clear and convincing evidence, upon the basis of facts that have arisen since the prior judgment or that were unknown to the court at the time of entry of the prior judgment, that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child or either or both parties having custody, and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interest of the child(ren).[ii]” Note also that the courts are not likely to allow proceedings to modify custody short of two years of a custody judgment, “unless the court permits it to be made on the basis of affidavits that there is reason to believe the child’s present environment may endanger seriously his physical, mental, moral or emotional health.[iii]”
Do you think based on the law in Illinois that a kid swimming in the pool whose arm becomes caught in a pool drain would justify a change of custody? Should the caretaker be in the pool with kids at all times? How closely is a parent or appointed caretaker expected to monitor ever second and movement of the child? Do you agree with the TMZ article commenter, that accidents happen?
If you are concerned and need a family law attorney, stop by the Fox Valley Law Center, conveniently located on the second floor of the Westfield Fox Valley Mall in Aurora. You can also call ahead to make an appointment to talk to a family law attorney by dialing 630-236-2222. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for up to date news in the law and issues that matter. For a list of legal practice areas please visit our website.
[ii] 750 ILCS 5/610 (b). Modification.
[iii] 750 ILCS 5/610 (a). Modification.