In our last post, we discussed how fathers in Illinois and elsewhere now have more rights in custody cases. They also have a greater number of legal options available when trying to establish paternity, seek visitation rights or fight an adoption.
However, while today’s dads fare much better than dads from decades ago, fathers’ rights advocates say that gender inequalities are still prevalent in courtrooms throughout the nation.
Additionally, while a recent poll revealed that a majority of Americans believe that parents should share joint custody of their children, a majority also admitted that they think the court system is bias against fathers.
Recent examples of high-profile custody cases also show us that there are many fathers who are still fighting to play an active role in their children’s lives.
In one example, actor Jason Patric recently said he would “fight ’til I’m dead” after he was initially denied parental rights to the child he fathered through in vitro fertilization with his ex girlfriend.
In another example of a high-profile paternity case, U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller filed a court motion challenging his ex-girlfriend’s decision to move across the country while pregnant with his unborn child.
Both of these cases involve fathers who never married the mothers of their children, which is likely represents the situation in which child custody rights are most difficult to obtain. Unmarried fathers often need the assistance of a skilled family law attorney who can help them fight for the custody rights that they are entitled to under the law.
Oftentimes, when children are born outside of the marriage, the first step is establishing paternity, which could require a paternity test. Once paternity has been established, the father can move forward with seeking custody rights and visitation.
Source: Slate.com, “Divorce and custody: Dads getting a better deal,” Hanna Rosin, May 18, 2014