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Men want equal child custody rights

Illinois couples understand that today's fathers play a more important role in raising their families. As more and more women step out of their homes and launch their careers, dads take on an even more important role in parenting. Men are becoming more empowered as fathers. However, when it comes to divorce, men still find that they are often relegated to a secondary position as women still take on the role of providing primary child custody.

However, this is now beginning to change and many state legislatures are rethinking child custody laws. This has become more important as research proves that fathers play an important role in the well-being, both physical and emotional, of their children. Hence, after divorce, men no longer want to play a secondary role in their children's lives. An IT professional with three children, of whom one is still a minor, explained that he had often feared he would lose child custody of his young child and that he would have to fight for visitation rights.

What has prompted this shift? A primary reason is the recession that compelled many women to seek jobs and men to devote more time to families. Another reason is that many lawyers and judges who had themselves gone through the unfortunate experience of parents divorcing want a different experience for the next generation. One respected lawyer, however, feels that if men become more aggressive in pursuing child custody issues, it might lead to a gender war and things could become worse. There is also data to support the fact that men are more involved in families. In 2012, around 2 million men were "stay at home" fathers; in 1989, the figure was only 1.1 million.

During the period between 1986 and 2008, mothers who received sole child custody has gone down to 42 percent from 80 percent. There is no doubt that child custody issues remain very sensitive, and an Illinois resident may choose to consult with a local state attorney in order to better understand these laws.

Source: Detroit Free Press, "More dads demand equal custody rights, reject child-support arrangements of yesterday," Sharon Jayson, June 14, 2014

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