Various types of issues may bring complications to family law situations involving child and parent relations after divorce. With regard to custody and visitation rights, some parents may be more challenged than others. In particular, unmarried fathers in Illinois and elsewhere have often found it difficult to protect their parental rights.
Just as all other biological parents have the right to see their children, so too does a man who was never married to his child’s mother. Unless otherwise noted, the court is typically of the opinion that a child does best when relationships with both parents are maintained. In the case of an unmarried father, however, it is often necessary to establish paternity before fighting for visitation rights in court.
If negotiating a parenting agreement outside a courtroom is not possible, an unmarried father who has established paternity may seek the court’s intervention. By asking a judge to grant a parenting request through a contested hearing, any concerned parent can protect his or her rights and make certain that a fair and just decision is rendered in court. It is often helpful to retain experienced representation rather than attempt to address such matters alone.
Although, it is still rare for an unmarried father to obtain sole physical custody of his child, it has happened in situations in which mothers were deemed unfit. Any Illinois parent facing custody or visitation problems may contact a family law attorney in the area for guidance. Since every family situation is different, an attorney may be able to help customize a plan that best aligns with a particular child’s immediate and long-term needs.
Source: Findlaw, “Child Visitation, Child Custody and Unmarried Fathers“, Accessed on Aug. 3, 2016