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Demand for fathers' rights on the rise

There has been an increase in law firms providing representation for fathers in child custody cases as the number of stay-at-home dads has risen as well. Traditionally, the rights of mothers and fathers in child custody battles have not been given equal consideration. As women enjoy more equality in the workplace in Illinois and around the country, some men are saying that they should get equal treatment within the arena of family law.

The primary consideration during a divorce is what is in the best interest of the child. A professor at Northern Illinois University College of Law says that a shift toward weighing all parents' rights equally regardless of gender may be due to more judges and attorneys living through their parents' divorces. The idea that mothers should automatically get full custody and stay home having been a deciding factor when these people were children might have led to unpleasant experiences that they don't wish to repeat.

The recession and the increase in homes with two parents who worked may have contributed to the changing perceptions that either parent could be the best choice for custodial parent too. The number of stay-at-home fathers was nearly double in 2012 compared to 1989, according to a Pew Research Center study. Getting custody consideration is now fairly customary for married dads in most states, but even unmarried fathers can petition for custody rights in the event that a couple splits.

For many fathers, waiting to hear if they will get custody of their children could be the most stressful challenge of their life, but having an attorney on one's side could reduce anxiety. As more state legislatures enact statutes that take into account their rights, many fathers will see a move towards equality in these proceedings.

Source: USA Today, "More dads demand equal custody rights", Sharon Jayson, June 14, 2014

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