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Can a Father Be Awarded Sole Custody in an Illinois Divorce?

 Posted on September 30, 2020 in Child Custody

Wheaton child custody lawyer parenting time restrictionsIn 2016, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) underwent significant updates. What used to be called child custody is now called the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” The time that a parent spends directly caring for his or her child is referred to as “parenting time.” Although the terms “sole custody” and “joint custody” are outdated, these terms are still sometimes used to refer to different types of parenting arrangements. If you are a father who is considering divorce, you may want to know if you could be awarded sole custody, or more accurately, all of the parental responsibilities and/or parenting time. The answer to this question will depend on a variety of factors.

Reaching an Agreement About Your Illinois Parenting Plan

Parents who divorce in Illinois are asked to create a parenting plan in which they describe how they plan to divide parental responsibilities and parenting time, as well as how other important matters will be addressed. Many divorcing couples struggle to reach an agreement about the provisions in their parenting plan. If you and your spouse disagree about child custody issues, a family law attorney may be able to help you negotiate a parenting plan that you can both agree to. Alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or collaborative law may also enable you to resolve custody disagreements.

Do Illinois Family Courts Favor Mothers Over Fathers?

If you cannot reach an agreement through other means, the court will step in and determine a parenting plan on your behalf. Many people are under the assumption that mothers are favored over fathers during child custody disputes. However, the laws in Illinois treat parents the same, regardless of their gender. Illinois courts make all child-related decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests. Some of the factors courts consider when allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time include:

  • The wishes of the parents

  • The wishes of the child

  • The child’s needs

  • Any instances of abuse or threats of physical violence by a parent against the child

  • Each parent’s role in making significant child-related decisions in the past

  • The mental and physical health of the parents

  • The amount of time each parent has spent caring for the child in the past two years   

Issues That May Lead to the Restriction of Parental Responsibilities

If the court finds that a parent has acted in ways that have seriously jeopardized the child's mental health, physical health, moral well-being, or emotional development, the court may choose to restrict that parent’s parental responsibilities or parenting time. The court may:

  • Reduce or eliminate the parent’s decision-making authority or parenting time

  • Require the parent’s parenting time to be supervised

  • Prohibit the parent from possessing or consuming alcohol or drugs prior to and during parenting time

  • Disallow a specific person from being present during the parent’s parenting time

  • Restrict a parent’s communication with the child

  • Enter other orders designed to protect the child’s wellbeing

Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Lawyer

At the Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., we understand just how complicated custody disputes can be. We are prepared to protect your custodial rights and help you do what is best for your child. Schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Wheaton family law attorneys by calling 630-462-9500 today.




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