The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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A Father’s Rights Regarding Children and the Illinois Family Law Updates of 2016

Posted on in Illinois Law

family law, DuPage County family law attorneyIn an effort to stay current and updated with regards to the family laws, in early 2016 the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) was updated to reflect some slight, yet useful, changes that are helpful to note.

Previously, the main responsibility of caring for the child was referred to as “custody” of the child. As of January 1, 2016, we now refer to child custody as the “allocation of parenting responsibilities”. With the change in terminology, the state also took the common parenting responsibilities and separated them in order to allocate each responsibility to one or both parents. Another common term, “legal custody” was removed with this update and replaced with “decision-making responsibilities”. This particular term is in reference to religion, education, health, and extracurricular activities.

In this day and age, there are more and more fathers who feel that the laws and regulations surrounding allocation of parenting responsibilities (aka “custody”) and visitation lean heavily in the mother’s favor regardless of which parent would best benefit the child. However, particular aspects regarding these family law changes may take away some concern you have when entering in the decision to battle for visitation and / or custody of your child.

Paternity: Generally, if you were married to a child's mother at the time of the child’s birth, the court system will assume you are the father. If the child was born out of wedlock, a paternity test may be necessary for proof. Know that mothers do not legally have any extra entitlement to custody of their children. So, be brave in knowing that as long as you are involved in your child’s life, you have just as much right to custody as the mother does.

Parental Responsibilities: If the two parents cannot agree to cooperate in co-parenting or come up with an arrangement, a judge will order an evaluation of custody (or parental responsibilities). In the evaluation, a professional will take a deep look at your child’s needs, both emotionally and physically, and who best supports those needs. In addition, they will study the bond the child has with each parent, interviewing the family, friends, and others who are a part of the life of the child about the relationships. The professional evaluator will then connect with you and your attorney (as well as the mother and her attorney) and the judge with the recommendation. At that time, the judge will make a determination. You are able to appeal the decision, if you see fit. For this conversation, you will need to cooperate in-depth alongside your attorney.

Child Support: In Illinois, child support comes from the parent that does not have primary residential responsibility of the child. Of course, the more children you have, the higher percentage that will be paid from the parent’s net income. Child support is modifiable and will most likely be revised every few years, or if there is a fluctuation in income for the paying parent. Child support should be paid for the livelihood of the child to assist in them living a “close to normal” life regardless of the situation at hand.

Parenting Time/Visitation: Visitation rights (now called “parenting time” as of the January 1st law changes) are just as important for the wellness of the child as everything else. As a father, if you do are not granted the majority of parental responsibilities, you still have a right to have a hand in raising your child. Generally speaking, supervised visits are ordered for parents are if there’s mental instability, a history of abuse, domestic violence, or neglect. If it is shown that there are extreme cases of abuse or instability, the judge may determine that it is in the best interest of the child to keep him or her away. This would be a great example of a reason to ensure that your actions are full of integrity and maturity at all times.

At The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we operate from a place of authenticity. We understand that it is important for you to recognize and be able to fight within your legal rights as a father.  We are very familiar with the procedures and personnel in the Circuit Courts in DuPage, DeKalb, Kane and Kendall Counties. We have extensive knowledge and know the processes meaning easier communication and quicker resolutions to your parenting law apprehensions. Please feel free to contact our Aurora child custody lawyer at 630-409-8184 for a consultation.


The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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