Friday, July 10, 2015

What are a father's rights in a divorce?

What are a father's rights in a divorce?

Children need their fathers just as much as they need their mothers.

One of the most important issues divorcing parents struggle with is visitation and parenting time rights. Fathers, in particular, do not have a clear understanding of their legal rights after a divorce where children are involved. Often times, fathers will give up equal or shared custody of their children because they think there is a gender bias in court and that mothers always win custody.
If you are going through a bad divorce, you know the process is difficult. If kids are involved, it is even harder. If you are a father who wishes to have primary custody or equal time with your kids post-divorce, consider the below.

During a divorce, the court makes decisions regarding child custody, child support and visitation rights. The decisions are generally governed under a “best interests” standard. One of the key factors the court will take into account is whether a mother or father was involved in parenting their children on a daily basis and how much time and effort s/he was invested in their lives. Some examples can include: getting the children ready for school, preparing meals, helping with schoolwork, transporting the kids to school, attending activities, involvement in activities, attending the children’s parent-teacher conferences at school or taking the kids to the doctor regularly. The court seeks to do what is in the best interest of the children and, as much as possible, maintain a steady foundation similar to what the kids are already used to.   

It may seem unnatural, but visitation rights are not automatically a father’s rights. The terms of visitation are decided amongst you and your ex-spouse in a parenting plan or in family court if an agreement cannot be reached or a parent is denying the other visitation rights. Do not be afraid to fight for your rights to share custody of your children because you may not have a clear understanding of your legal rights or believe there is gender bias if your situation goes to court. The truth is, you will never know your legal rights if you do not try to understand them and you won’t know if there is a gender bias in court if you do not even attempt to get custody.

If maintaining a relationship with your children is important to you after your divorce, it is critical to be informed on your rights. Contacting a Chicago divorce lawyer like us will help you understand your legal rights. The court understands that both parents play an important role in their children’s lives. With proper representation and information, you may be able to receive more time with your children after the divorce.

DISCLAIMER-The information contained in this blog article shall not be construed as specific legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship or privilege. Further, this information is intended for general knowledge purposes only and is not intended to solicit legal fees.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Contemplating Divorce? What are the basic steps involved?

The steps to getting a divorce depend on each specific situation. For example, a couple who has been married for a short period of time, without kids and little property and debt should have a more simple divorce process than a couple who has been married for a longer time period, with kids (especially minors), and significant property and debt to divide. However, the simplicity of the divorce process also depends on if both parties want and agree to the divorce.

The divorce process varies depending on where you live. If you’re in Chicago, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for the last 90 days before you can be granted a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage according to Illinois law. In reference to child custody, the kids must have been Illinois residents for the past six months.

The divorce process in Illinois can be broken down into six steps:


The first step to getting a divorce in any situation is to file a petition. Even if both spouses agree to divorce, one party must file a petition with the court asking for the divorce, stating the grounds for the divorce and any other issues that need to be resolved.

Service of Process

Once a petition is filed, service of process occurs. This is a document that shows proof that a copy of the divorce petition was given to the other party. The party who files for divorce must also file proof of service of process. This step can me avoided if both spouses agree to the divorce. In that case, the non-filing spouse must file an “Appearance” form after the Petition is filed and pay the filing fee to willingly submit to the jurisdiction of the court.


The party who receives service of process has to file a response to the petition. The responding party may choose to dispute the grounds for the divorce stated in the petition or defend the grounds for the divorce. Any disagreements on property and debt divisions, child custody, support or other issues should be stated in the response.


Any issues both parties disagree on from the response need to be negotiated and resolved. If either party wishes to conduct discovery, the other party may be compelled to answer questions and/or produce documents related to the parties’ property, assets, debts and liabilities. There are also discovery requests that may pertain to custody if custody is in dispute. The most common forms of written discovery in divorce cases are Matrimonial Interrogatories, Notice to Produce Documents and Requests to Admit Facts. Oral discovery can also occur in the form of depositions if any parties or witnesses need to be examined under oath before trial. The court may schedule settlement conferences in an attempt to have both parties reconcile their issues. 


If both parties still cannot resolve any remaining issues between themselves after negotiation then a trial will decide the results. However trials are costly and time-consuming.  

Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage

The Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage completes the divorce process and explains how property and debt are divided as well as custody, support and other issues. If both parties resolve their issues and willingly comply with the outcome, they draft a proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage, submit it to the court and a judge approves it. If both parties do not agree on a resolution, the court will issue a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage at the end of the trial.   

Although filing a petition is the first step in any divorce process, every divorce is different, complex and difficult. If you are going through a divorce in Illinois, contact an Illinois divorce attorney or family lawyer to understand your options and assist you on your situation.

If you have any questions concerning a divorce, or if you need an attorney to fight for your best interests, feel free to call our Des Plaines law office at (847) 813-6011.