Child Custody Lawyers for Fathers

Let Our Child Custody Attorneys for Fathers Fight for Your Rights

While fathers have more rights today than they had years ago when mothers were almost always granted primary custody of the children, it sometimes still may be a struggle for fathers to obtain the custody arrangement they are entitled to. While in today’s world, both parents often work, fathers may be the stay-at-home parent, and Illinois family laws have changed to be more gender-neutral, mothers may still wind up with better chances of getting custody.

If you are a father who is in a custody battle with your child’s mother, the child custody attorneys for fathers at Wolfe & Stec can help. We understand the stresses you are going through and the issues you must deal with and are prepared to take all steps necessary to resolve them fairly.

We offer a free initial consultation to examine your individual situation, answer questions about relevant Illinois custody laws and how they apply to you, and determine the best way to help you fight for custody and other rights you and your children deserve.

Call the Wolfe & Stec child custody lawyers at (630) 305-0222 for fathers to get started fighting for your rights today.

Our Child Custody Attorney for Fathers Explains Illinois Law

Illinois law recognizes that all children have a right to the mental, physical, monetary, and emotional support of both their parents. In 2016, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was updated to remove the terms “custody” and “visitation” and substitute the terms “parenting time” and “allocation of parental responsibilities.” The purpose was to encourage parents to have a healthy and safe relationship with each other, reduce disputes over who would be the “custodial parent,” and eliminate making one feel like the “winner” and the other the “loser.”

The law requires that divorcing parents come up with a parenting plan that deals with custody and visitation. If parents do not agree on a fair plan, fathers often wind up having to fight for their rights in family court, especially if they are denied access to their children. The courts will then make decisions, now called “allocation judgments” setting forth each parent’s responsibility, including the parenting time each will receive, according to what is in the “best interests of the child.”

Illinois judges are supposed to ensure that fathers have just as much of a legal right to child custody as mothers do, as long as it is in the best interests of the child. However, it doesn’t always work that way. According a 2018 study by Custody X Change, fathers in Illinois usually get about 23 percent of parenting time, the fourth-lowest figure in the U.S.

If you want more or equal parenting time, you need be able to come up with a workable schedule and show that:

  • You have been involved with parenting before going to court.
  • It is in your child’s best interests to spend as much time with you as possible.
  • You have the time and ability to care for your child.

Factors that courts consider in determining the child’s best interests when allocating parenting time and parental responsibilities include:

  • The wishes and relationships of both parents and of the child, depending on age and maturity
  • The distance between the parents’ residences; the cost and difficulty of transporting the child; each parent’s and the child’s daily schedules; and the ability of the parents to cooperate in the arrangement
  • Adjustments a child must make in communities, schools, and homes
  • The amount of time and resources each parent has put into taking care of the child in the preceding two years
  • Any history of domestic violence by either parent.

If parents can’t agree on a parenting plan, they will be required to mediate their differences. If the parents still can’t agree, the court will decide how parenting time and responsibility will be divided in an “allocation judgment” based on the best interests of the children. This often involves appointing experts to evaluate the parents, the child, and the living situation and to submit a report to the court with a recommendation. There will be a trial, during which each side presents testimony and other evidence supporting its position. The court will then enter its allocation judgment and decide upon a parenting plan.

The Wolfe & Stec child custody attorneys for fathers know how the courts work and are fully prepared to fight for the arrangement that works best for you and your children. Call us today at 630-305-0222.

Rights of Fathers in Child Custody May Require Establishing Paternity

Under Illinois law, married parents have joint residential and legal custody of a child born of the marriage while they are married. With unmarried parents, the mother has sole legal and residential custody of the child until a finding of paternity is made and the father petitions the court for custody.

In some cases, it is necessary to establish paternity so that the child’s biological father becomes the legal father, too. This is easier if the parents are married, and unmarried parents need to take steps to establish paternity, especially in contested situations.

Establishment of paternity allows a father to enforce the right to be a part of his child’s life. Illinois law provides several ways for parents to establish paternity:

  • Marrying after the child is born.
  • Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) to get parental rights. This involves filling out a form at birth that acknowledges paternity so that the father’s name appears on the child’s birth certificate before the family leaves the hospital.
  • Paternity action brought to the court. Paternity actions can be brought by the child’s mother, any male who believes he is or is identified as the child’s father, the child with the help of legal representation, or a government agency that has custody of the child.
  • Paternity order issued by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Child Support Services.

Establishing paternity may result in a legal battle in contested situations. Fortunately, there are now paternity tests available to establish facts and secure rights under the law.

Child Custody Lawyers for Fathers in Illinois Answer Your Questions

Child custody issues are sensitive for everyone involved, and it’s natural for fathers to have questions and concerns. Here are some answers to questions our clients often ask:

  • What types of custody are there in Illinois?

    Illinois divides child custody into legal custody and residential custody:

    • Legal custody — involves making important decisions in the child’s life in areas such as religion, school, and medical treatment. Parents may share joint legal custody, or one parent may have sole legal custody.
    • Residential custody — is where the child lives or spends a majority of time, as well as who has the obligation to pay child support. It is possible to share residential custody, but if arrangements are not practical, courts may be generally reluctant to award joint residential custody.
  • When do we have to come up with a parenting plan?
    Your parenting plan must be filed with the court by both parties within 120 days after filing or being served with a petition for child custody. The parenting plan is the final result of a child custody dispute, and parties can file a parenting plan together or separately, depending on their situation. If you can’t agree on a plan, the courts will come up with a plan for you.
  • What do I have to do to modify custody?
    You can modify physical custody if there is a major change in your circumstances or those of the other parent – for example, if one parent moves far away because of a job. Legal custody is more difficult to modify. Courts will not change orders within two years of the original order, and will do so only if you can show that the arrangement is harmful to the child’s “mental, moral, or physical health.”
  • Can my children choose to live with me?
    Illinois does not allow children to choose which parent to live with, but the court will take the child’s wishes into account when making a decision. The older or more mature a child is, the more the courts will consider their opinion.
  • Do I need a lawyer for father’s custody issues?
    Chances are that opposing ex-spouses will have a lawyer fighting for them, so it makes sense to have a lawyer on your side to make sure everything is done properly and that your rights and those of your children are protected. Making mistakes can be costly, and your children’s happiness and future are at stake.

Call Our Child Custody Attorneys for Fathers in Illinois

We Fight for the Rights of Fathers in a Custody Battle

Too many fathers wind up going through an emotional, stressful custody battle in order to stay in contact with their children. Laws regarding parental rights and obligations are complicated, and if you make a mistake you will have to deal with the results for years.

The Illinois custody lawyers for fathers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are here to fight for your rights and for the best interests of your children. Whether you need to fight for custody, come up with a favorable parenting plan, establish paternity, modify a custody agreement, challenge a spouse’s move, or deal with any other father’s rights issues, we are here to help. We represent and advise clients in all types of father’s rights matters and have a long history of success.

Don’t delay. Call us for your free initial consultation today at 630-305-0222.

Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]

Woodridge Illinois Law Firm

3321 Hobson Road, Suite B
Woodridge, IL 60517
Phone: 630-305-0222

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