How Divorcing Fathers Can Protect Their Rights in Illinois
Going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult things that any person experiences in their life. This is especially true for fathers, who may have to battle to ensure that they are receiving fair treatment during the legal process of ending their marriages. If you are going through an Illinois divorce as a father, then it is important to understand how the state's laws will apply to you. This will provide you with a strong understanding of your rights regarding your children and the ways to achieve an outcome that will allow you to have a strong ongoing relationship with them, even if you are no longer married to their mother. With the help of an experienced family law attorney, you can take steps to protect your fathers' rights and make decisions about child custody that will provide for your children's best interests.
Fathers' Rights Regarding Child Custody
Illinois law is gender-neutral when it addresses matters related to child custody. Even though it may seem like mothers are favored in these types of cases, since they are often seen as the parents who are most focused on caring for children and managing household responsibilities, this does not mean that they are given benefits under the law. Decisions about child custody should be based on what is in the children's best interests, and multiple factors will be considered, including each parent's level of involvement in caring for children in the past, how parents worked together to make decisions related to their children while they were married, the physical and mental health of the parents and the children, the ability of each parent to provide a safe environment for children in their home, and the parents' willingness to cooperate with each other and put their children's needs ahead of their own.
As you address issues related to child custody, you will need to make decisions about two separate areas, which are commonly referred to as legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody, or the allocation of parental responsibilities, refers to the right of a parent to make decisions about their children's education, healthcare, and other matters related to their upbringing. If you and your spouse have shared in making these decisions in the past, you may be looking to create an agreement that will give you an equal say in these matters going forward. This means that you will have the right to be involved in decisions about where your children will attend school, what medical treatment they will receive, and other important parts of their lives. You will also have the right to be informed about what is happening with your children, such as by accessing their school records and being able to speak with their doctors about medical issues.
Physical custody, or parenting time, is focused on determining where the children will live and when each parent will have time with them. Regardless of any other decisions made during your divorce, you will have the right to reasonable, regular parenting time with your children, even if they will be primarily living with the other parent. While there is no minimum amount of parenting time, most non-custodial parents are able to have their children live with them every other weekend and see them at least one evening during the week. However, you may be able to negotiate a parenting plan that allows you to spend more time with your children, such as dividing parenting time evenly between both parents. As with other aspects of child custody, the final decisions about parenting time should be based on what is in your children's best interests.
Contact Our DuPage County Fathers' Rights Lawyers
If you are going through a divorce as a father, you should not feel intimidated or scared when it comes time to negotiate terms related to child custody. Your children deserve to have a father who is closely involved in their lives, and by advocating for your rights, you can make sure you will be able to be there for them and provide the emotional support they need in the future. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we can help you understand how the Illinois divorce laws apply in your unique situation, and we will advocate on your behalf to help you reach decisions that will protect your rights and your children's best interests. Contact our Oakbrook Terrace child custody attorneys today at 630-909-9114 to set up a consultation and learn how we can help you during this difficult time.