Susan B. Anthony was a woman of passion, politics and rights. In the 1860s she became a leader for women's suffrage in the United States. Among her initiatives was a newspaper that carried the masthead, "Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less;" the message being justice for all, regardless of gender.
Here in Illinois, our state legislature tries to keep up with the times, making changes to laws to better reflect current trends and situations. Take for example changes to the area of family law, which have given Illinoisians options to marry a spouse of the same sex and access to parental rights even if a child is not biologically related to one or both parents.
There is nothing really easy about divorce and child custody matters. Even in cases where the divorce is amicable and the kids are handling the situation well, the truth is that a family is breaking up. The new configuration may be better for everyone involved, but such a fundamental life change is hard.
Want to make life a little better? Some with wisdom will tell you that one thing you can do is to always assume positive intent. Those who make that their practice say it makes it easier to face any given moment calmly, collectedly and rationally.
All too often, while going through a divorce in Illinois, fathers approach child custody from the mindset that it does not really matter what they say or do, as the mother is just going to be awarded custody. Instead of fighting for equal parenting rights, many fathers just mentally prepare themselves for every-other-weekend visits, assuming their child or children will primarily live with their mother.
In a July post, we discussed why it's so important for unwed fathers in Illinois to establish paternity. Most importantly, a father who is not married to his child's biological mother has no legal parental rights to his child. This means a mother retains sole legal and physical custody and can even put a child up for adoption without notifying or obtaining consent from the child’s biological father.
In many cases when parents divorce, decisions related to child custody and visitation are made by a family law judge. Once child custody and visitation orders have been established it is then the responsibility of both parents to follow the orders. Additionally, both parents are responsible for their actions and behaviors with regard to how they communicate and attempt to co-parent with an ex-spouse.
We often discuss important matters related to the divorce process like child custody and the division of marital assets. Rarely discussed, however, are the immediate actions an individual should and should not take upon making the decision to divorce. Whether a divorce is precipitated by one major event or a slow demise over the course of several years, when a divorce is imminent it's customary that spouses physically separate.
This past weekend, sons and daughters across the Peoria area gathered with their fathers to celebrate Father's Day. There's no doubt that, regardless of a child’s age, fathers play an important and influential role in the lives of their children. While traditionally mothers were considered the primary caregivers and tended to take on the majority of child rearing duties, today more than ever, fathers are taking a more active role in their children's lives.
Illinois residents may remember actor Jason Patric from the cult classic vampire movie The Lost Boys or as being one of the many men actress Julia Roberts once dated. Today, however, Patric's been making the talk show rounds for a very different reason as he fights to gain parental and custody rights to his 4-year-old son.