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Father's equal court treatment is an ongoing fight

Photo of Karen Lavin

In a world that seems increasingly concerned with gender equality, there are still some areas where the pendulum swings in surprising directions. One such area is the surprising number of fathers who, despite being demonstrably capable dads, are denied fair custody privileges after a divorce.

In Illinois, several organizations are pushing for legal reforms that will grant fathers more fair rights when it comes to having an equal say in their children's upbringing.

Which parent gets awarded custody of the minor children frequently comes down to practice over principle. The courts intend to be fair and impartial when determining a custody arrangements that are in children's best interests. But "fair and impartial" often ends up meaning that mothers are granted primary, or even sole, custody simply because they are the mother. This form of gender inequality is still quite prevalent in many courts in Illinois.

The issue is a complex one. Some advocates for father's rights have authored legislation that pushes for minimum mandatory arrangements in custody agreements, such as 35 percent shared parenting time. However, these sort of requirements are often opposed by organizations that fight domestic violence, claiming that such terms give too much clout to potential domestic abusers.

While the issue is not completely resolved, many in the Illinois legal community are committed to fighting for the betterment of families throughout the state. If you have a custody issue, do not hesitate to seek out the guidance of an experienced Illinois family law attorney who can help you use the law to fight for your rights and fair treatment.

Source: The State Journal Register, "Groups push legislation for fathers' equality in court," David Blanchette, Jan. 29, 2017

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