When you go through a divorce, you expect to continue to be a part of your child’s life. You expect to experience those milestones, like when they take their first step or when they say their first words. However, that may not be your reality.
You can never be emotionally prepared for the idea of limited parenting time with your child. You can feel lost about the uncertainty hovering around your relationship with your child, and you may start to feel that you have to overcompensate by creating elaborate experiences every time you are given the opportunity to spend time with them.
In order to prevent this issue in the first place, you would need to partner with a family law attorney who understands what fathers go through during this challenging time. You need to be able to rely on your family law attorney and understand that they will fight for your best interests and the best interests of your child.
You would hope that the family courts would look to do what is in the best interests of the child, but given the gender stereotypes that pervade the family court system, this does not always occur.
This is why many states have begun legislative efforts to change how family courts view child custody situations. States like Florida, Kansas, Michigan, and 15 other states have introduced bills that create the presumption of joint custody, in order to act in the best interests of the child. The states of Kentucky and Virginia have passed these laws.
Illinois state officials are reintroducing theirs.
House Bill 185
Illinois state House Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) and Rep. Allen Skillicorn (R-West Dundee) are sponsoring House Bill 185, which would amend the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, according to NBC 25 News.
The purposes of the act would be amended to recognize that the involvement of each parent for equal time presumptively is in the children’s best interests and would remove language that does not require each parent to receive decision-making responsibilities when it comes to the shared child.
The bill also would require family courts to consider 17 different factors when considering the allocation of parenting time, including previous threats of abuse, sexual violence, or physical violence, criminal behavior, and neglect.
“We don’t want to put any children in harm’s way,” Illinois Fathers for Equality co-founder Chad Loudermilk told NBC 25 News. “But we want fit and loving parents to receive and have the ability to have their kids in their lives.”
The bill also requires the family courts in specific situations to issue a written decision stating its specific findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of its ruling. This would give a reasonable explanation for any decision that did not support the presumption that this law would implement.
It is vital that any legislation considered offers the necessary types of safeguards that prevent children from any harm or danger. The intention of House Bill 185 and similar legislative efforts is to ensure the best interests of the child are represented in family court, and putting a child in a harmful or volatile environment is not acceptable in any way.
Best situation possible
The custody of a child should not be based on gender, but rather, the best situation possible. For many, joint custody is a way to involve both parents in the child’s life, in order to ensure the child remains in the best situation possible.
Countless studies have highlighted the benefits of shared parenting, and as a parent, you should want to ensure your place in your child’s life. As much history and emotional discord may exist between you and your co-parent, you should look to set it aside for the benefit of your shared child.
They are the one’s caught in the middle of your divorce, and it is up to you and your co-parent to ensure them the best life possible, regardless of your marital status.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with Joe Cordell.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.