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Protecting the Rights of Fathers

 Posted on February 15, 2017 in Paternity

Lombard family law attorneyFor many fathers, it can be extremely difficult to maintain an active role in the lives of their children. This is especially true for a father who has gone through a divorce or breakup with his child’s mother. In many cases, it feels like the proverbial deck is stacked against a man when it comes to child custody decisions—now known as the allocation of parental responsibilities under Illinois law. Unfortunately, many such issues are based on the persistent public perception that men are less qualified to serve as primary—or even equal—caregivers for their children.

Anecdotal Examples

Recently, a discussion on the social media site Reddit addressed the various ways that men have experienced sexism in their lives. Many responses dealt with female-dominated work environments, physical abuse at the hands of female partners, and distrust from authorities when a man has been the victim of domestic violence. However, there was a substantial number of responses that described the experiences of men when they are seen in public with children—including their own.

Many such men recounted harsh looks, inappropriate comments, and even blatant disbelief that they were simply caring for their children. In almost every example, the man was suspected of being a potential predator just because he enjoyed spending time with his kids and engaging them in a public place.

Legal Protections

While the safety of children should always be a primary concern, it is disturbing to realize that negative assumptions about men are so pervasive. The law in Illinois regarding parental responsibilities, fortunately, is gender-neutral, but personal biases and opinions can still be factors in the court’s decision. This means that, in many cases, the father will need to work doubly hard to show the court that he is committed to serving his child’s best interests.

Start By Establishing Paternity

When a child is born to unmarried parents, it is critical for the father to establish paternity if he wishes to play a role in the child’s life. Unless paternity is legally established, the mother is the child’s only legal parent, meaning that she has full responsibility for all decision-making and parenting time. By establishing legal paternity, the father will then have standing to file for custody rights, including the right to make decisions regarding the child and to enjoy time together, regardless of the relationship between the father and mother.

There are several ways to establish paternity, but the easiest is by signing the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form that is usually made available at the hospital with the child is born. Other methods of establishing paternity often require DNA testing and administrative or court orders.

We Can Help

If you are a dad who is struggling to remain relevant in your child’s life, our compassionate Lombard family law attorneys are ready to assist you. Call 630-426-0196 to schedule a confidential consultation with A. Traub & Associates today. We will work with you in protecting your rights and those of your child.



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