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Understanding Your Rights as a Father in Illinois Family Court

 Posted on August 18, 2023 in Family Law

Arlington Heights Parentage LawyerFathers have important legal rights when navigating family court in Illinois during divorce and child custody cases. However, many dads are unaware of their rights or how to assert them effectively. It is beneficial to know about a father’s rights during a child custody case.

Presumption of Equal Parenting Time

Recent changes to Illinois law have established a presumption that both parents are fit and that equal parenting time is in the children’s best interests. This means courts will generally seek to order a timeshare as close as possible to 50/50 custody or at least “reasonable parenting time" for each parent.

Fathers should not hesitate to request equal parenting time and present arguments about why spending half of the time with dad is best for the kids. Unless evidence shows otherwise, judges will aim for a schedule maximizing the involvement of both parents.

Right to Seek Joint Custody

Illinois family courts default to joint custody arrangements, giving both legal parents decision-making power over major issues like education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and more. Fathers absolutely have a right to request joint custody during divorce and parenting proceedings.

Joint custody does not mean equal parenting time. But it does allow fathers an equal say in important choices impacting their children's welfare and upbringing. Arguments for joint custody are strengthened by showing past involvement in medical appointments, school events, etc.

Duty to Financially Support Children

Along with rights come responsibilities. Illinois family law is clear that both parents must contribute to their children's financial needs. The court will determine child support amounts based on income levels and other factors.

Fathers have a duty to pay reasonable child support as ordered by the court. Reduced parenting time does not eliminate this obligation. Support helps provide for the child's expenses and maintains an adequate lifestyle.

Protection Against False Accusations

During contentious custody battles, one parent may attempt to cast doubt on the other's parenting fitness by raising abuse or negligence allegations. Fathers should know these accusations must be supported by real evidence.

Illinois law protects fathers against false or unsubstantiated claims of child abuse, drug use, violence, etc. Still, diligently documenting your parenting time will help counter any fabricated allegations.

Right to Respect from Court System

Family court personnel and judges have an obligation to treat fathers respectfully throughout legal proceedings. Men have legal recourse if they feel bias or discrimination has impacted rulings related to their divorce or custody case.

Concerns about prejudice should be raised professionally, but fathers have a right to assert perceived violations respectfully. Documenting all interactions can help support an appeal down the road.

Knowledge of legal rights is power for fathers hoping to maximize and protect their involvement in their children's lives before, during and after divorce. Consult an experienced Illinois family law attorney to ensure your rights are upheld through any custody disputes or proceedings.

Contact an Arlington Heights Family Law Attorney

If you want legal guidance on your side, an Illinois child custody lawyer can help you protect your parental rights. Call A. Traub & Associates at 847-749-4182 to get started.





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