As a dad, you have a meaningful and irreplaceable relationship with your child. Divorce should not sever any aspect of that relationship. If you feel like losing your connection to your child is the inevitable result of ending your marriage, you might still be under the impression that Illinois family law treats dads more like occasional helpers than active parents. This is simply not reality for most families. If you want to be certain that your child’s best interests are being met, then you should be ready to assert your fathers’ rights.
If you are eager to stay just as involved and active in your child’s life, you should let go of the assumption that you will only see your kids a few weekends a month. However, you must be prepared to demonstrate your parental role. This can feel unnatural at first. Society tends to condition women to assume a lot of parental responsibilities even when fathers are eager to participate as well.
An easy way to show your involvement as a parent is by simply familiarizing yourself with your child’s schedule. It is easy to get caught up in the details and stress of divorce and let details that you normally pay attention to slip by. When it comes to your child, you should know where he or she is, at what times and for which activities. Along with this small step you could also find other ways to get involved, such as chaperoning field trips, volunteering for his or her sports team or even becoming class dad. This may even be a great opportunity for you to assume some of the roles that your soon-to-be ex always seemed to take over.
Many dads just assume that getting primary custody of their kids is impossible, or even that joint custody is unrealistic. Neither of these are true. Illinois protects and upholds fathers’ rights so that men just like you can keep doing what they do best — being active parents. If you think that your rights are not being upheld or that your ex is painting an unfair picture of your parenting, you should not wait to reach out for help and guidance.