FATHER'S RIGHTS, BIAS, AND PARENTING TIME...dirty little secrets!
Updated: Aug 31, 2021
If I had a nickel for every single time I heard the statement "I think the court is against me, why are things so hard, and why is this case taking so long", by my "dad" client's....I would be at Jeff Bezos status, and would be relaxing in Dubai and having Sheiks and Sultans bathe my feet, because that is literally how rich I would be.
Now, what if I told you that the dad's complaint isn't 100% wrong. Now i'm not saying that as soon as a dad walks into family court that mom will get 100% of what she wants and he will be required to settle for scraps. NOPE...what I am saying is that dad may have a harder time for Two (2) common sense reasons in Illinois...and they aren't due to bias against one party or another.
REASON NUMBER 1
1) Mom's are generally assumed to be a child's parent, but for some exceptions that aren't an everyday occurrence. I guess the assumption that a kid is the woman's is pretty evident after pushing a child out of ones womb.
REASON NUMBER 2
2) Dad's/Men are not assumed to be a child's parent. Actually, Illinois statute has a whole section dedicated to the definition of an alleged father: (750 ILCS 46/103)
(c) "Alleged father" means a man who alleges himself to be, or is alleged to be, the biological father or a possible biological father of a child, but whose paternity has not been established. The term does not include: (1) a presumed parent or acknowledged father; or (2) a man whose parental rights have been terminated
or declared not to exist.
Try doing a google search defining an "alleged mother", you will likely have an easier time finding alleged parent.
Short of an adoption senario, or foster care situation, how many times have you seen the mother of a child on Maury, running out of the room screaming in disbelief that the baby isn't hers?
Now, how many times have you seen men and women run off the show after hearing "YOU ARE NOT THE FATHER". Exactly.
There are things that can make the paternity issue go faster, VAPs, DNA tests, Marriage for dads....but I think it is helpful for a man to understand that just because he is the dad, doesn't mean he is automatically presumed to be the dad in many scenarios - and as crazy as it sounds, law enforcement isn't in the business of trying to figure out if this man over here is actually related to the child without some documentation.
Now, there are other things that can hold a case up beside those common sense situations. Attorney negotiations, arguments, evidence ect....plus there are just a ton of behind the scene things that occur that most clients don't know about, and probably aren't interested in knowing about. GAL's, mediators, status quo, college expenses, and my favorite....What really constitutes the best interest of the child, and who should determine what is in the best interests of the child? (but that is a whole other post)...The law is a twisted mistress.
However, it is my belief that children need good fathers and moms who want to be apart of their kids lives. The kids that tend to thrive the most are usually children of people who has mastered the art of co-parenting, and cultivating a strong bond with the children. Parenting is about quality over quantity , emotional intelligence, and love.
After-all...children don't stay children forever, they grow up, form their own opinions, develop their own relationships, and make their own decisions eventually. Kids don't stay young and innocent and uneducated about the world, relationship, or people. These kids eventually become adults with excellent memories for the good or bad....and i truly wish more people understood that.