Generally speaking, the conception is that women are given primary custody of children more often than men in divorce. Even in arrangements where parents share custody, children may only spend a couple days per week with their father. Although Illinois child custody laws aim to meet the best interests of children, some observers feel as though family laws haven’t caught up with the needs of today’s families.
In May 2013, a group formed to help dads secure equal custody of their children. Interestingly enough, the organization isn’t populated by men; rather, Leading Women for Shared Parenting is composed exclusively of women. The group’s hope is that they will be able to build enough momentum to push for family law changes throughout the country.
A study conducted by an Arizona State University professor shows that men and women are just as likely to support the idea of awarding equal child custody to both parents. However, the public perception hasn’t met the reality of what happens in family court, according to supporters of the change. Oftentimes, women are awarded sole physical custody of children, which leaves many fathers with limited visited visitation time.
At this point, there is no indication as to what kind of traction Leading Women for Shared Parenting will gain in Illinois. However, it’s important to remember that parents should try to work together to reach an agreement that truly reflects the needs of children.
Of course, there are certain situations in which equal custody isn’t the best option. In some cases, a person may not have the resources to parent or the safety of a child needs to be protected. This is when the unique aspects of every child custody case must be taken into account before a custody arrangement is approved by the court.
Source: The Star Tribune, “Rosenblum: Divorced dads get big gift from fired-up moms,” Gail Rosenblum, June 8, 2013