What Are Fathers’ Rights In Illinois?
Even though mothers are usually granted the lion’s share of parental responsibility and parenting time in Illinois, fathers have equal rights. However, while the law treats both equally, fathers are usually given the short end of the stick when it comes to fathers’ rights in Illinois. They usually face unique obstacles related to paternity and child custody matters.
Right To Establishing Paternity
In all states, when a woman gives birth, she is considered to be the child’s legal mother. However, the same cannot be said for the father of the child. Unmarried fathers, for example, have to establish paternity to confirm that they are indeed the child’s legal parent.
There are three ways they can do this in Illinois:
- Both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form that establishes the paternity of the father in the state. This has to be done at the hospital where the child is born or later.
- The father can establish paternity through a court order or via a hearing through the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
- Go to court to get an order of paternity.
Rights To Visitation And Child Custody
If divorced parents go to court to determine child custody and visitation, the judge will base his decision on the best interest of the child. This means that he/she will only consider a decision that benefits the child irrespective of the mother or father’s wishes. Some of the factors they look at to come to a decision include the following:
- The relationship of the child with the mother and father.
- The parents’ desire for the child.
- The relationship of the child with siblings.
- The circumstances surrounding each parent’s living situation.
- The mental and physical health of each parent.
- If there is a history of domestic violence by either parent.
- The ability or willingness of each parent to take care of the child.
When starting custody proceedings, the judge does not hold one parent in higher regard than the other before all of the aforementioned facts are taken into account. In other words, in their eyes, fathers have as much of a right to child custody and visitation as the mother.
However, establishing paternity for a divorced or unwed father who signed a VAP can still encounter some obstacles. More often than not, fathers are unaware of their rights as parents and many who are interested in establishing paternity can get discouraged with the complex language of Illinois paternity laws.
This is where lawyers at Dan Walker Law Office who specialize in fathers’ rights in Illinois can prove invaluable. They can aid you in acquiring the rights you deserve when it comes to child support and visitation rights.
Dan Walker is a licensed lawyer who has been in private practice for more than 45 years. His aim is to provide the knowledge and resources his clients need when they need them. He makes it a point to interact personally with each client. Get in touch with his law office in Hinsdale, IL for a free consultation today.