Published On: Thu, Dec 27th, 2018

Fathers Fighting The Status Quo for Shared Parenting in Illinois

The Illinois activist group, Illinois Fathers for Equality, was created to help children get the best outcome when their parents are going through a divorce, says the president and co-founder of the organization, Chad Loudermilk. Often times, when a judge rules in a child custody case, one parent – often the father – is granted significantly less parenting time than the other. This has ramifications not only for the parent, but also for the child.

Photo by Gerd Altmann

“The cards are stacked against one parent, and it’s so much harder for them to prove that they are deserving of 50/50,” explains Loudermilk.

The group is currently working towards getting a bill for presumptive 50/50 shared custody signed by the Illinois governor.

Loudermilk explains that the many supporters of the organization and its work consists not only of fathers, but also of mothers, grandparents, and others who recognize that equal parenting time is ultimately in the best interest of the kids.

While Illinois is not the only state in which this type of bill is making its way through the legislature, divorced fathers in Illinois would benefit more than most if the bill is made into law. Fathers in the state get some of the least amount of custody time with their kids compared to other states, according to findings of a new study. illinois ranks 47th in terms of the amount of custody time granted to fathers, followed only by Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee and children in Illinois spend an average of only 23.1 percent of their time with their father.

The data was collected partly by surveying legal professionals about the custody plans and schedules that they most often encounter. The study only took into consideration cases in which both parents desired custody and lived close enough to one another as to make shared custody possible, and in which there were no extreme factors added into the equation such as one parent being arrested or in jail.  

Extensive research shows that having an active father is in the best interest of children. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states that children without fathers are at a significantly greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse. Also, children of single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior; constitute 71% of high school dropouts; have more trouble academically; and are more likely to miss school than those kids with involved fathers.

While shared custody is indeed the ideal, the reality does not always allow for it according to the Law Offices of Scott D. Rogoff, P.C. As such, when a judge decides custody time, the objective best interest of the child needs to remain the guiding principle, while still attempting to treat each parent equitably as possible.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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