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Men gather in Waukegan to promote fathers' rights

In Illinois, it is a reality that child custody overwhelmingly goes to the mother. This is a common point of contention in child custody disputes as men seek to have their fathers' rights recognized on the same level as mothers' rights.. In respond to the seeming status quo, some fathers are trying to alter the landscape that seems to trample over them to give mothers custody by rote.

A group of single fathers recently staged a rally at the Waukegan courthouse in an attempt to highlight their plight in trying to have a greater role in the children's lives. Referred to as "Fatherless Day," the rally sought to encourage reforms to current laws and changes to realities that diminish parenting time for fathers. One complaint is that custody and parenting time decisions are made by judges and not juries, even though many believe that a jury would be more willing to listen to fathers and be more flexible. In recent years, though, a larger number of judges are giving fathers shared visitation with mothers.

Changes to state law have eliminated the term "custody" from the vernacular with a greater focus on visitation and parents being responsible for their children. This can include paying more attention to living arrangements and how a child's life, schooling, health care, and other activities will be organized. The current number of children who reside with fathers is 27.5 percent. This is higher than it was five decades ago. But higher, too, is the number of homes in which a father is not present, as it was 11 percent at that time and is now as high as one-third of the population with children. Similarly, the number of divorces is in decline. These men seek to shine a light on the negative aspects of a child growing up with limited or no involvement from a father, as well as change the way decisions are made with regard to child custody.

Although attempts at increasing parenting time and custody for fathers are prominent, in many instances courts still decide that the mother should have the bulk of the time with a child. Fathers who are in the midst of a divorce, separation, or child custody modification dispute firm legal arguments to support their position. Assistance from an experienced legal professional can lay out the options and formulate a plan to move forward.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Divorced fathers rally for greater custody rights," Megan Jones, June 17, 2016

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