If you have a criminal court ruling and DCFS on your side, why not appeal the case and take it out of the hands of a family court...an appellate court is far more capable to rule on these matters. I actually agree that family court, in general, is a joke...these proceedings should probably be heard and decided upon by a jury like any other case and if one is going to insist on using a judge, it should probably be a judge from a Criminal Court...the idea of having a separate family court is a proven failure.
I have appealed, the hitch has been that the judge refused to certify the record as required for the Appellate court to review, in particular the Bystander Report (what is given in lieu of a transcript). The Appellate Court issued an order to her to ammend her refusal with an explanation: Judge M- (can I say her name?) just refused to acknowledge the order. Further, her refusal to hold a hearing meant all that evidence (e.g. DCFS, criminal records, etc. the divorce judge has, but refuses to release, the police records) held for a trial that didn't take place didn't make it into the record. Meanwhile she allows my ex to continue litigation which keeps me busy.
So what I have done is stopped filing pleadings as if they are going to be heard by the circuit court and instead packed the motions with citations of case law, etc. more appropriate for a appeallate brief. I also included accounts of what has gone on in court: my ex has filed motions to dismiss and strike, by Illinois law she admits the allegations contained therein. (I have, however, had to be careful until very recently, to reveal what the kids have been saying, so as not to endanger them).
The juge has actually said that she doesn't care what happens in the appellate court, and that their orders don't count, but I had no stenographer there for that. So I also begged, borrowed and stole to get the money for a stenographer, which now can bypass the need for the judge to certify. I'm waiting now for Friday's transcript: the latest reduction in time with the children was filed pursuant to the Parentage Act, the law governing custody for illegitimate children. Since we were married (a fact the judge should have noticed as she first got her claws on my kids by presiding over the divorce), the court has no jurisdiction over the matter, a fact that the transcript is going to show was hammered and the judge igonred. By all accounts (including my ex's lawyer, since he made a similar mistake on another motion and filed to ammend, missing his deadline, though), the order is void for want of subject matter jurisdiction. As all the previous orders have been entered without a determination of the children's best interests, necessary according to Illinois public policy and statute, they are all void, and therefore can be attacked as well now. I already have the transcript of the court refusing to certify the record when the Appellate court determined that the appeal should be an expedited custody appeal and thus, according to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules, the burden to make sure the record is delievered to the higher court shifts partially from me (usually it is 100% on the appellant) to the judge and chief judge of the division. Friday I had the whole record thus far, and the transcript will show that although offered, the judge refused to see the appellant court's orders, again. So once the transcript is finished, it is only a 16 day wait and the appellate court with have its record.
Yes, family court is a joke but only the divorce lawyers are laughing. In Chicago it's worse, as it is the catch basin of the dreggs of the patrponage system: my judge actually wrote the ward gerrymandering in Chicago for the 90's. Btw, check those Obama judicial picks very carefully.
Btw, I believe there are only two states that have jury custody trials. In Illinois, trial by jury is denied by statute. And yes, the criminal court was a WHOLE different experience, for one thing the absence of arrogance. I don't know if that was a family (de facto divorce)/criminal court distinction, a suburb/city distinction (the criminal stuff has all been in the suburbs, which is how she has managed to hide/keep it out of divorce court, something that is now specifically barred by Supreme court rule), or a Democrat machine/Republican distinction (the husband of the one criminal judge who convicted Spider was a big politico when the Republicans controlled the Senate, and now has a prison term to match).
A year ago the Supreme Court issued a whole new article of its rules that specifically deal with the problems with "family court" and custody, explicitely putting custody cases on a par with capital offense. In Illinois, over half the custody cases were being overturned, and the number was rising: in fact, a custody order had become the most appeallable order in Illinois (which makes me wonder why Jefferey Leving of Elian Gonzalez fame in his book calls appeals a waste), over twice as appeallabe as a murder conviction. Since this court has managed to break every one of the rules, and the only precedent on the new rules is another appellate district which, even after disposing of the case on other grounds, went on to apply the new rules, its explanation explicitely making the precedent of taking up making case law on the new rules a chief priority, my case has a far better chance than most on being heard.