location 1580 N. Northwest Highway, Suite 12, Park Ridge, IL 60068
Facebook Linkedin
George Skuros
Free Consultations
phone 312-884-1222

Spring 2022 The Law Office of George J. Skuros Justice in Family Law Scholarship Winner

Allex Kelley

Allex Kelley

Allex is a student at the University of Southern California. She hopes to use her degree to pursue a career in law within the fields of corporate partnerships or sports law. Allex currently maintains a grade point average of 3.9.

Read Allex’s Essay:

When my single mom was attempting to protect us from my birth father’s persistent harassment, she didn’t exactly feel that the law was on her side.

I was born to two 19-year-old parents on drastically different paths. My mom was and continues to be a hardworking, present, and nurturing maternal figure, even when she encounters hardship. My biological father, who I never met before his death from kidney failure at age 35, was a dishonest and unreliable partner to my mother and suffered from drug and alcohol abuse. His lack of presence in my life lessened the impact of such issues on my mom and me, but he would eventually attempt to re-enter our lives uninvited through texts and Facebook messages that demanded to know where we were located and how we were spending our time. My mom ignored the communication, but it continued for several years before we eventually moved out of state.

But what if his efforts had progressed? What if he had contacted our extended family, searched me up in the school district directory, or even shown up at our door? Would any of his actions, no matter how uncomfortable and unsafe they made us feel, be deemed worthy of a restraining or protective order from a judge? And even if we had been granted such protection, would he genuinely have ceased contact with us under the laws filled with loopholes for people in identical situations?

My mom and I are fortunate my birth father’s actions never progressed to such a level. But for the hundreds of thousands of victims of domestic violence and stalking who choose to bring their cases to the court, consequences such as restraining orders or even imprisonment sometimes are not enough to relieve victims of their abusers. While such litigation by the court is meant to explicitly and legally separate a victim from a perpetrator, abusers in such situations are allowed–through a loophole–to continue contesting such litigation and therefore extend their time in contact with the victim. Such contestation can occur officially through the perpetrator’s lawyer, even while the abuser is in prison, or less officially–when perpetrators prevent a trial from being completed through unnecessary and exaggerated physical actions and verbal outbursts. Even further, extensions of existing trials and the starts of new lawsuits can result in devastating legal fees for victims–who more than anything want their litigation to be finalized and effective and for contact with their abuser to cease permanently.

In order to rectify this injustice and make the court a safer and more supportive environment for domestic violence victims, we must work to implement laws that eliminate the possibility of “stalking by way of the courts”--as was outlined in a Tennessee law, the first in the U.S. to prevent against the in-court continuation of domestic violence. More specifically, the law provides judges with the ability to hold hearings before trials surrounding contestations from abusers; this lets judges determine whether or not the trial is an attempt at harassment against or stalking of the victim. If the attempt at trial is deemed “court stalking,” judges can refuse to allow perpetrators to open new lawsuits for several years. We need to implement similar litigation procedures in the country’s remaining 49 states as soon as possible; if we continue to allow abusers to affect their victims through the court’s loopholes, we are only increasing the risk of further emotional and physical violence on current and future victims.

Again, I’m lucky that my mom and I never experienced harassment to a violent or stalking extent. But for the next generation of single moms and their daughters, we must do better and implement preventative litigation to end the persisting issue of court stalking.

Back to Top