Proposed law in Illinois may change child custody arrangements

Photo of Karen Lavin

The well-being of children should be the primary concern of spouses who have decided to end their marriage. Children have no real say in their future lives compared to the efforts and decisions that their parents can take when the time comes to get their lives in order after a divorce, separation or other marital event.

The state of Illinois offers many options to allow former spouses to continue being good parents if they are no longer committed to each other. These include sole custody, which gives one parent singular control of the child's home and upbringing, and parenting plans, which lay out each parent's responsibility in a legal document for easy reference.

Some fathers in the Land of Lincoln are lobbying the state government for automatic equal custody of their children in the event of separation or divorce. A proposed bill would ask courts to award equal custody, in which each parent would have the same privileges and responsibilities, after the end of a joint living arrangements.

These fathers and their legal representatives cite research that shows children do better in academics, social life and their own minds if they spend time with both parents. "[My son] doesn't understand the situation, of course," one father said. "There's no reason why our conflict or our inability to work things out should weigh against his needs."

Courts are instructed to consider the best interests of the child in custody cases. Parents' concerns are also valid, and an attorney is often recommended to represent these issues in court. A lawyer can help make child custody litigation easier for parents who want to remain part of their children's lives.

Source: Fox Illinois, "Dads fight for 50/50 child custody bill," Rachel Droze, accessed March 06, 2018

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