If you’re a father who is facing a divorce, you naturally have serious concerns regarding your ongoing relationship with your children. Many fathers are convinced that their children’s mother is likely to be granted the benefit of the doubt and to get the lion’s share of parenting time in divorce. While it’s easy to let your imagination run away with you when you’re facing an issue as important as child custody (which is now known in Illinois as Parental Responsibilities that allocate parenting time and decision-making authority to each parent), it’s important to remember that you have legal rights that a fathers’ rights divorce attorney in Chicago can help defend.
The most important thing for you to know about the court’s decisions regarding your children is that each and every one of them is predicated on what the court deems to be in their best interests. There is no legal presumption that the mother is a better option when it comes to child custody concerns. In fact, the presumption is that children fare better when they have an ongoing relationship with both parents (barring a compelling and credible reason to believe otherwise), and the court’s decisions in regards to parenting time (previously known as custody) tend to reflect this belief.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t vigorously defend your parental rights as a father – you should – but you shouldn’t feel dejected right out of the gate. An experienced fathers’ rights divorce attorney can help ensure that your parental rights are well protected and that your relationship with your children will continue to flourish.
The allocation of parental responsibility has two parts: parenting time and decision-making.
Decision-making refers to who will be making the important decisions on behalf of your children moving forward, including decisions about their:
Making these decisions is obviously a big part of being a parent, and aggressively advocating for the ability to continue participating in your children’s lives in this capacity is worth the effort. If your soon-to-be-ex refuses to budge on the matter, you can turn to the court to make its own determination. One factor that the court will likely consider is who made which decisions for your children prior to divorce, and it can divide the decision-making responsibilities accordingly.
You and your spouse are divorcing – not you and your children. You naturally want to continue fostering a strong bond with your children, and that is what parenting time is all about. If your divorcing spouse is not interested in negotiating in good faith for a parenting time schedule that supports your rights and allows you to spend a considerable amount of time with your children, you can look to the court to intervene. The court tends to base such decisions on factors such as how much time each parent has spent with the children in the previous two years. If you can demonstrate your constancy in their lives and your active participation in their care, you may well convince the court that it is in your children’s best interests to spend more time with you.
If you are facing a fathers’ rights concern, the formidable fathers’ rights divorce attorneys at WARD FAMILY LAW LLC in Chicago are well-positioned to help. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
I knew we were going to have a custody battle from day one. It was going to be mean and messy and expensive and long. I did not know if I could handle it but I had to do it for my kids. Jennifer litigated my case to the end - we had an attorney for the kids, we had psych evaluations, we had reports for the Judge, we had court date after court date. She was strategic, smart, planned well ahead, and kept on top of everything. Thanks to her and her legal eagles my kids are in a…
We were not married but had two kids and we were both listed as the parents on the birth certificates. What I did not know at the time was that the birth certificate (for parents who are not married) does not count in Chicago! You have to have a paternity test or have signed some special paperwork at the hospital that we did not know about at the time. Ward Family Law prepared the court filings so that we could establish our parental rights. Thank you!
At the end of my divorce case I realized that the paperwork required us to provide the court with a Qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) in order for our retirement and investment accounts to be divided as we had agreed. The problem was that we did not have them done in time. Jennifer and her team stepped in and handled contacting the plan administrators, completing the draft QDROs, submitting them for pre-approval of everyone and then presenting them to the court. While we had hoped this was super easy there were a lot of steps and a lot of things…
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