How To Protect Your Parental Rights In A Divorce

Divorce is a very sensitive topic, not only for couples but for those who have a family as well. But couples who can’t make their relationship work can plan on getting a divorce. Couples can file for a fault or no-fault divorce. In a fault divorce, a spouse should prove that the other party is involved in marital misconduct. In a no-fault divorce, couples don’t need to prove one partyhas caused the breakup—they can just state that the marriage is irrevocably broken. Illinois is a no-fault divorce state.

Hiring an attorneyis crucial when going through the divorce process. Although you can always try representing yourself, hiring an attorney can improve your outcomes in court.Law firms such as the law firm of Franks GerkinPonitz Greeley are a good place to seek advice on the divorce process. They can provide expert legal support and assistance, so you don’t end up settling or accepting a judgment that is unfair to you.

What Are Parental Rights?

Parental rights continue after the divorce process. Both parents have equal responsibilities to their children and should’ve discussed the custody during the process. There are two types of custody: sole and joint. Joint custody has two parts as well: joint legal custody or joint physical custody.

  • In joint legal custody, each parent has equal rights in making a major decision for the child. This includes education, health care, and religion. Joint physical custody refers to the time a child spends with each parent.

The time spent can be equal or not, depending on the decision made by both parents or the judge. A child can spend most of their time with one parent while he or she spends two or three days with the other.

  • Sole custody refers to a child spending his or her time with a parent and the parent handles the major decisions of the child. This decision includes education and health care. The other parent can spend time with the child which refers to as the ‘visitation.’

Couples should discuss visitation rights during the divorce process. This includes which day a parent could visit the child and the amount of time they should spend together. A court can stop the visitation if there’s evidence of child abuse or the mental illness of a parent.

How Do You Protect Your Parental Rights?

The state of Illinois doesn’t have a statute which explicitly defines and safeguards parental rights. However, the courts have time and again upheld the fundamental constitutional right of a parent to control their child’s upbringing. In a divorce case, the court assumes that both the mother and father are equally capable of adequately caring for their child and helping shape their future.

Protecting your parental right is crucial when going through divorce as it can affect the child children’s future. Here are some of the ways:

  1. Provide Child Support

Parents should provide child support during the divorce process. Chapter 750, Section 505 states to calculate the child support based on the parent’s combined net income.

For example, a family has three children and based on the combined income of both parents, they spend $60,000 yearly for the children. If the father has to pay 45% of the child support, he will pay $27,000 yearly.

  1. Create Good Co-Parenting Relationship

Creating a good co-parenting relationship is critical for the child. Some couples have lost their parental rights because they can’t agree on the decision made by one parent. Some parents make harsh decisions without consulting on the other. One parent can go to a judge if both can’t agree on a decision.

  1. Respect The Child

Child abuse and neglect can be reasons for losing your parental right during a divorce. If one suspects child abuse, at risk of child abuse, or neglect, they are encouraged to report them to a hotline at 800-25-ABUSE.

  1. Establish Parentage

Parentage refers to the legally recognized relationship between a parent and a child. It’s not difficult for married fathers to establish parentage. However, the same is not true for unmarried fathers. Unless parentage is established, unmarried fathers will not be able to exercise their parental rights. To protect their parental rights, unmarried fathers need to first prove paternity.

Wrapping Up

If ever you plan on getting a divorce, especially if you have children, always remember that both of you have equal rights. Parental rights can be removed or diminished if one party is proven to violate the parenting agreement or if equal parental rights is determined by the courts to not be in the best interest of the children.


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