Is it true that moms are the preferred custodial parent?
It is hard to deny that, historically, if a Springfield, Illinois dad was not living in the same home as his children for any reason, he was unlikely to get primary custody of the children absent something extraordinary like a credible allegation of domestic violence, drug abuse or something of the like.
However, particularly with the advent of the fathers’ rights movement and a deeper appreciation of the important role fathers play in the lives of their children, there has been a deeper appreciation for what has, legally speaking, been true for a long time in Illinois: specifically, that when it comes to child custody, a father and a mother are on equal footing.
In other words, under Illinois’ child custody laws, a court generally will not consider the sex of the parent when determining the child’s best interest and arranging custody and parenting time accordingly. Rather, the court will focus on other factors, including how involved each parent was in the care of the child and what the child’s exact needs are.
As a warning to our readers, and as this blog has mentioned previously, a father who has not legally established paternity over his or her child may not have the same rights to custody and visitation as the child’s mother. This is one reason establishing paternity is important for a father who wants to have a relationship with his children.
Moreover, just because the law says that mothers and fathers are equal when it comes to deciding custody and parenting time questions, it does not mean that every judge, mediator, lawyer or other professional really believes that deep down. Fathers will still likely need a strong advocate to help them assert their case in the event of a child custody or parenting time dispute.