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Immigration issues spur changes in child custody laws

25963128_S.jpgIllinois, like many other states across the country, is home to a diverse population of immigrants. As a result, immigration law and deportation are important considerations for families that may face immigration status challenges. Such issues can also lead to disputes regarding child custody in the event that a parent is scheduled for deportation.

A new study produced by Generations United has shown an increase in children of immigrants living with aunts, uncles and grandparents. According to the study, one in five children being raised by extended family members lives in an immigrant household.

Immigration activists claim that the combined effect of deported family members and special living conditions can lead to affected children being less trusting of government officials, having an increased difficulty in accessing social services and having a greater risk of developing psychological trauma. The potential for these problems has led some state governments to begin providing assistance to immigrant families in preparing for custody issues that may arise from a deportation event.

Lawmakers and governors in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey have presented legislative actions that allow parents facing detainment to appoint legal guardians in the event of deportation. These laws expand on existing laws meant to protect children of immigrants in the event of a death, allowing parents to retain custody unless and until Immigration and Customs Enforcement takes a legal action.

Child custody as it pertains to family law can be a complex issue, especially when immigration status concerns are at play. Many families facing issues surrounding child custody or custody disputes turn to family law attorneys for assistance. Legal counsel can navigate the various processes involved in settling immigration status issues as they relate to keeping families together. If necessary, a family law attorney could provide legal representation in court and before an immigration panel to advocate for the best interests of the children involved.

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