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Archive for August, 2022

Understanding Your Rights as a Father

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Every March, single parents are celebrated on National Single Parent Day. As marriage rates decline and rates of births outside of marriage rise, single parenthood in the U.S. is increasing. While mothers have certain rights, fathers, too, have access to their share of rights.

Family law has evolved over the decades, giving fathers the same constitutional rights as mothers. These rights include making decisions about the children and spending time with them. In Illinois, fathers are awarded equal parenting time and share decision-making authority.

In fact, the state created a law that acknowledges the rights of fathers. The Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 recognizes the right of children to receive the physical, emotional, and monetary support of their parents, regardless of their parents’ marital status.

The importance of fathers playing an active role in their children’s lives cannot be underestimated. While mothers have long been viewed as being nurturing caregivers, capable supporters, and strong providers, the role of fathers and father figures is just as critical.

Numerous studies conducted on fatherhood show that children whose fathers are involved or supportive tend to perform better academically. Social and language development are also easier for these children. Similar to mothers, fathers can be capable caregivers and effective disciplinarians.

Father and Daughter playing outside

What is the importance of establishing paternity?

Paternity means being a legal father. While the legal father is normally considered to be the biological father, this is not always the case. A father can adopt a child and become the legal father, just as one who has rights through a valid surrogacy agreement.

Establishing paternity is important for fathers who wish to be involved with their children. Rights, privileges, and responsibilities come with establishing paternity early on. Delays in establishing paternity can lead to accusations that the father is uncaring or financial support being owed.

Paternity also gives the legal father the right to specific information about the children, such as medical care and school performance. By failing to establish paternity, a father could miss out on opportunities to guide and protect the children or otherwise parent them.

What are the rights of a father?

Upon the confirmation of paternity, a father may be granted certain rights under Illinois family law. Particularly, the father may seek custody and visitation rights, which are now referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, respectively.

Not all parents contribute equally to the care of their children. Parenting time may be scheduled based on variable factors, such as how much time the parents wish to spend with their children and a history of the parents’ level of involvement with their children.

A father may gain greater parenting time if, upon examination of past behavior, the judge finds evidence showing how involved the father was. If a father wants to spend more time with his children, his past efforts to do so will influence the judge regarding future opportunities for parenting time.

If a mother attempts to prevent the father from spending time with the children but the father tries to be involved, it can sway a judge’s decision in favor of the father. The judge will primarily gauge the past efforts of the father when determining a parenting schedule.

It is a sad fact that a mother with whom the children live may outrightly refuse to allow the father to visit his children. Such a parent may allow or disallow access to the child based on the conveniences of her schedule or as a way to leverage financial support.

A court can intervene, however, and give the father parenting time with his children. The exception is when the mother expresses verified concerns about the safety and well-being of the children when in the father’s care. In such cases, parenting time may be supervised by a relative or professional.

Parenting schedules are determined after the judge evaluates the fitness of both the mother and father, their co-parenting time and their past involvement with the children. It is possible that the father can be awarded the majority of parenting time with the children.

Overall, Illinois courts give importance to giving both parents regular opportunities to spend time with their children. The reality is that Illinois fathers who want parenting time with their children will receive it under the laws of the state, unless the father poses as a safety risk to the children.

Once the courts are involved, the judge will ensure that both parents will spend time with their children, and neither will be able to exclude the other parent from the children’s lives. The goal of the courts is to encourage a meaningful relationship between the children and both parents.

Fathers may also have the right to receive child support. The law gives equal importance to both parents, meaning they share parental responsibilities and, if appropriate, child support payments. A child support agreement may be reached with the help of a father’s rights attorney.

Children benefit significantly when both parents are involved in their upbringing. However, fathers may have a bigger uphill battle when seeking visitation rights and the opportunity to make decisions in their children’s lives. It’s important to consult the attorneys at Berry K Tucker & Associates when this occurs.

We are a family law firm with a team of father’s rights attorneys who are experienced in providing legal assistance to fathers who are underrepresented. Once you establish paternity, our lawyers will help you address any legal concerns regarding the relationship with your children.

Our father’s rights attorneys will fight for your rights for visitation, high child support payments, child custody, and overreaching child enforcement actions. Fathers who already play a significant role in the well-being and development of their children will make it easier for the courts to grant further rights.

The family law attorneys at Berry K Tucker & Associates are committed to defending the rights of fathers and ensuring they have rightful access to their children. When you seek expert legal guidance, consult our law firm. We support fathers in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Call today to schedule an appointment.

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