Fathers have more rights today than they had years ago when mothers were almost always granted primary custody of the children, but many divorcing fathers still must struggle to obtain them. In today’s world, both parents often work, fathers may be the stay-at-home parent, and family dynamics and parenting laws have changed accordingly to be gender-neutral; however, in reality, mothers may still wind up having more benefits and control. Some mothers will try to deny visitation or even falsely accuse a father of abuse to keep him from his child.
This can happen even though the importance of children having a father’s presence has been recognized. Children who do not have a father in their lives suffer many negative effects, such as being more likely to use drugs or drop out of school. For the sake of your children, if you are in a situation where you have to fight for your father’s rights, custody or visitation, you need to have an experienced attorney on your side.
The seasoned and compassionate Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec understand the stresses of divorce and recognize the concerns parents have for the well-being of their children. If you are a father with problems involving paternity, custody, parenting time and responsibility, child support, or any other father’s rights issue, we can help. We offer a free initial consultation to examine your individual situation and help come up with solutions that are best for you and your children.
Illinois law is concerned most with the needs of the child. The law recognizes that all children have a right to the mental, physical, monetary, and emotional support of their parents, and that “the parent and child relationship, including support obligations, extends equally to every child and to every parent, regardless of the marital status of the parents.” Child visitation rights are not automatically the rights of either parent, but are considered the rights of the child.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has the goal of not diminishing the parent with less parenting time and of allowing that parent to still be equal in making decisions. The law requires that divorcing parents come up with a parenting plan that deals with 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 regarding child custody, child support, and visitation rights according to what is in the “best interests of the child.”
In determining what is in the child’s best interests and setting up how parenting time and parental responsibilities should be allocated, the courts consider factors such as:
Illinois judges are not supposed to hold one parent in higher regard than another to ensure that fathers have just as much of a legal right to child custody as mothers do. However, it is up to the father to show that it is in his child’s best to spend as much time with him as possible.
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 if the situation is contested.
The establishment of paternity allows a father to enforce his right to be a part of his child’s life. It also allows both parents to enforce the child’s right to receive financial support, including contribution to medical costs, daycare costs, and education costs.
Illinois law provides several ways for parents to establish paternity:
Establishing paternity may be simple when it is done with the consent of both parents, but when parentage is contested, it may result in a legal battle. As science and the law have evolved, so too has the use of paternity tests to establish facts and secure rights under the law.
Too many fathers wind up going through an emotional, stressful fight in order to stay in contact with their children. If you are faced with any paternity issues, it makes sense to consult an experienced family law attorney to avoid making mistakes that can be costly both financially and emotionally.
Laws regarding parental rights and obligations are complicated, and if you make a mistake you will have to deal with the results for years. If you have questions about your rights as a father, you should contact an experienced attorney to be sure you and your children are protected.
The skilled Illinois family-law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. know the laws, the courts and the system and can guide you through the process. We represent and advise clients in all types of father’s rights matters and have a long history of success.
Don’t delay. For a free initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate DuPage County lawyer, call or contact us online or call to set up a free initial consultation.