Fathers Can And Do Seek Majority Parental Responsibility
In Illinois, our parental responsibilities statute is gender-neutral. This means that the father and mother can both request the allocation of parental rights for children in a divorce proceeding.
We are a family law firm serving clients in Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford Counties and throughout Central Illinois. We have handled numerous contested custody and visitation disputes, including many fathers’ rights cases where the father sought and was awarded sole parental responsibilities for his children.
Helping You Preserve Parent-Child Relationships
Many divorcing fathers assume that they will see their children only every other weekend and that they will be cut out of their children’s lives after divorce.
Our advice to anyone who has those concerns is to be as proactive as possible in asserting your role as the child’s parent. Don’t wait for the soccer schedule to be mailed; contact the coach and get it yourself. Don’t complain that your ex never tells you what grades the children receive; ask the school to send you your own copy directly. Don’t worry that your ex seems to know more about the children’s lives than you do; sign up to be the class dad, volunteer to chaperone a school trip or coach your child’s team.
When a father hires us to represent him in a divorce or parentage case, one of the first things we do is help that father assess his ability and interest when it comes to parental responsibilities. Following this discussion, many fathers have told us that they truly believed their children would have a better life with dad providing their primary residence, but they didn’t even think it was possible, so they were not even going to ask us about it! If you have the interest and ability, and if you truly believe your children’s best interests are served by you having primary physical custody, then it would be irresponsible for you not to seek it.
If your primary goals are to maintain your role as father and to continue to have meaningful input into decisions affecting your children as they grow and mature, you may be interested in having a joint parenting plan. This approach to parenting for divorced parents allows them to maintain a working relationship when it comes to their children, and it can greatly enhance the children’s ongoing sense of family after the divorce of their parents. Since joint parenting plans are rarely ordered except where both parents agree to it, great care must be taken from the very start of your divorce or parentage case to create a proper framework for negotiating a joint parenting plan.