Another Father's Day has come and gone. For some dads, it's an annual reminder of how little they see their children. Some fathers to the north of Peoria recently spent the day celebrating Fatherless Day, a day to raise awareness of kids who don't see their fathers because of death or divorce.
The group Illinois for Parental Equality is working to get divorced dads more access to their children, the president of the organization says.
The 37-year-old divorced dad said he believes that fathers do not always get a fair shake in child custody hearings. He would prefer that decisions in disputed custody cases were made by juries instead of judges.
"Somewhere along the line we've given judges this authority and judicial discretion to decide what is best for our children," he said.
Of course, one way to avoid handing all of that decision-making power to a judge is for the divorcing mom and dad to work out a parenting agreement.
In many situations, joint parenting is the way for divorcing couples to go. In that way, both mother and father share custody and responsibilities that include decisions about education, social relationships, discipline, religion, health care and all of the other concerns involved in raising children.
One dad who attended a rally organized by Illinois for Parental Equality said the separation from his daughter is painful. He said that "the fact that I can't even see my daughter, and she's growing up without me, kills me."
That is the kind of pain that a divorce lawyer experienced in protecting the best interests of the child and parent can often help dads and moms avoid.