Parenting Time: Do Fathers and Mothers Have Equal Rights?
Divorce and separation can be difficult on the entire family, especially when it comes time to address the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation), as these issues impact the lives of both parents and children. A new lifestyle is born, and new routines are put into place, forcing everyone to adjust and adapt to many big changes at once.
Unmarried Parents Versus Married Parents
One question that often plagues the mind of parents undergoing divorce is whether or not their rights are equal. The subject of father’s rights are particularly concerning, as many children end up residing with the mother after a divorce. Do fathers receive the same rights? Is their desire to participate in the lives of their children taken just as seriously as the mother’s needs and wants?
If the couple is not married, these questions are doubly important. When couples are married, most states automatically assume that the husband is the father of the child and is therefore entitled to certain rights. The same is not true for unmarried couples sharing children.
What Rights Can I Expect to Have as a Father or Mother Going through a Separation?
The state of Illinois clearly outlines the law’s stance on the allocation of parental responsibilities, but each state’s laws differ in regards to a father’s rights in relation to visitation and custody. Like many laws, these standards continue to evolve, so it is important to stay up to date on new developments, especially if you are currently going through a divorce or are about to go through one.
Here are some things you need to know:
Paternity Is Important
Whether you are a married or unmarried parent, properly establishing paternity is important from numerous angles. For one, paternity protects the rights of both the child and the father, financially speaking and otherwise. If you are a father and you want to ensure your relationship with your child is valid, be sure to legally acknowledge paternity so your rights are protected. Secondly, should any conflict arise in court or during mediation when it comes time to arrange parenting time and parenting plans, your official status as father is on record and is verified.
The State’s Definition of “Father” Shapes Your Rights
Illinois law defines a natural father as someone who has been married to the child’s mother while the child has been conceived and born. Additionally, the father must have signed an acknowledgement of paternity and given his written consent to be listed by name on the child’s birth certificate. If you, as the father, have met these minimum requirements, you have a better chance at securing certain rights and establishing a special role in the child’s life during and after the separation. It is important to acquaint yourself with your state’s requirements as you begin your quest to create and maintain a relationship with your child in the wake of separation.
As a parent ending a relationship, it is understandable to have concerns regarding your rights with your children. The subject is far from black and white, and you will need to arm yourself with as much information as possible. Gain better insight and peace of mind by speaking with a knowledgeable Kane County family law attorney today. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.