If you are a father who is going through a divorce or a custody dispute, you may have heard or read about “fathers’ rights” and how they are often violated by family courts. You may have been told that you have little chance of getting a fair share of parenting time or decision-making authority over your child, simply because of your gender. Are fathers really at a disadvantage when it comes to child custody in Illinois?
The myth of fathers’ rights
The term “fathers’ rights” is misleading and inaccurate. It implies that there is a special set of rights that only apply to fathers in child custody cases. There is no such thing as fathers’ rights or mothers’ rights in Illinois law. There is only one set of rights that applies to both parents equally: the rights of the child.
Best interests of the child
Illinois law does not look at gender when it comes to child custody. It looks at the best interests of the child, which is the guiding principle for all custody decisions. The best interests of the child are determined by considering a number of factors. This includes the wishes of the child and the parents, the relationship between the child and each parent. It also includes the ability and willingness of each parent to cooperate and communicate with the other parent.
Parental responsibilities and time
Based on these factors, the court will allocate parental responsibilities and parenting time between the Will County parents. Parenting time refers to how much time each parent spends with the child on a regular basis. The court’s goal is to create a custody arrangement that serves the best interests of the child, not the preferences of either parent. The court recognizes that both parents have an important role to play in their child’s life.
The reality of fathers’ rights
While Illinois law does not discriminate against fathers in child custody cases, it does not guarantee equal outcomes either. The court will consider each case individually. This means that some Frankfort, IL fathers may end up with more parental responsibilities and parenting time than others, depending on how they meet the best interests’ factors. An attorney can assist in compiling facts on your unique case and circumstances to meet your goals for your family moving forward.