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Opponents say proposed Illinois child custody law is too rigid

Traditionally, parents going through a divorce may have noticed that courts tend to favor the mother. In many instances in Illinois, a child custody arrangement would entail the mother getting the kids on a full-time basis with fathers only getting visitation rights or weekends. However, there is an increasingly loud push to change that and move toward a shared parenting model, though some feel proposed legislation in the state is not ideal.

Groups such as the Illinois State Bar Association note that it is important to have flexibility when determining custody. New legislation would encourage judges to not only make custody decisions quicker, but also to consider equal time for both parents, giving each at least 35 percent of time with the kids. Opponents claim that a structured solution leaves little wiggle room for circumstances that do not merit shared parenting.

Many experts note that divorce can create tense situations in which emotions often trump clarity in terms of custody. As one psychologist with The Family Institute at Northwestern University notes, parents may not be able to focus on raising children if they are embattled in a bitter dispute. Advocates of the bill, however, note that it would help judges to think outside standards and grant more fathers with the time they deserve.

No matter what the situation is, it is imperative for someone going through a divorce to contact an attorney. A lawyer can advocate on behalf of a client for custody rights as well as issues involving child or spousal support.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Illinois joins debate over child custody disputes,” Bonnie Miller Rubin, June 1, 2014

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