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Illinois fathers again seek change to state custody laws

There has long been a worry that fathers were viewed in a secondary manner in Illinois child custody cases. Since mothers will often be given custody with the father getting visitation rights as a noncustodial parent, many deemed this as unfair. Fathers who are thinking about this and want to make certain they are given an opportunity to have custody or equal custody, it is important to keep track of developments in family law issues and to have legal advice to state their case successfully.

In the past, those advocating for fathers' rights were stymied in their attempts to change current law to mandate equal parenting time. The last time this was tried was in 2018. Now, a new bill has been sponsored to make it a rebuttable presumption that the parties should get equal parenting time when they are in a child custody dispute during a divorce. This means that it will be equal parenting unless reason is shown that it should not be.

With the new bill, judges would also need to explain why they have deviated from the standard of equal parenting. Currently, judges need only to show they are serving the child's best interests. Because the best interests concept has so much wiggle room for the judge to decide in favor or the mother getting custody, it is considered flawed and vague. The 2018 bill did not make it into law.

When there is a divorce in Illinois, there are many family law concerns that will come to the forefront from support to property division and, of course, child custody and visitation. For fathers who are taking a keen interest in the possibility that they will be granted equal parenting time, it is important to watch closely how this new proposed law fares. No matter its fate, mothers and fathers must have legal advice when they are divorcing and child custody is at stake. A family law firm can help.

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