A person that has heard conflicting information about divorce and their rights as a mother or if they are confused about how to prepare a plan for their child that the court will approve, a Joliet mother’s rights lawyer may be able to help.

If you have a parenting plan in place and are unhappy with the terms of the agreement or order, you may benefit from meeting with a Joliet mother’s rights lawyer to review your options and prepare a plan of action. Your rights as a mother are important, and the knowledgeable family attorneys at Reidy Law Office LLC could help to ensure your needs are met and your rights are upheld. We could help you understand your rights, offer options for taking legal actions and advocate on your behalf.

Women’s Rights to Custody

Both mothers and fathers in Illinois have an equal right to a relationship with their child. Due to recent changes in state law, custody is now called “parenting time.” One parent might have “majority parenting time,” where the child spends most of their time living with that parent.

“Parental responsibility” is the right to make major decisions for your child. The court may grant parental responsibility to either parent individually or both parents jointly depending on the circumstances. There are four categories of parental responsibilities, each of which represents an area of a child’s life in which a parent may have the right to make important decisions on their behalf:

  • Religious upbringing
  • Education
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Health—medical, dental, and psychological

Parental Responsibilities

The court could award joint responsibility so that both parents participate in making important decisions in the life of the child in the areas of health, education, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. Even if the father is granted sole responsibility, the mother could still have access to the child’s medical records and school information.

Unmarried Parents

It may be important to establish paternity when attempting to obtain support from a biological father. Fathers could voluntarily acknowledge paternity by filling out a legal form called a Voluntary Acknowledgement, signing the child’s birth certificate, or undergoing a DNA test. Once paternity is established, you could go to court with a mother’s rights attorney in Joliet to seek and enforce support orders.

How Courts View Rights of Parents

In the past, mothers were considered the primary caregivers, and majority parenting time would customarily be granted to them in the event of a divorce. In modern times, the primary consideration is the “best interests of the child.”

The courts could look to a variety of factors, which a Joliet mother’s rights lawyer could bring forth, to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Some of the criteria may include:

  • The child’s wishes, if they are old enough
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • Important third-party relationships with the child
  • The wishes of the parents
  • The depth of the child’s involvement in school and community
  • The parents’ and child’s physical and mental health
  • The Willingness of parents to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Any evidence of abuse

Parenting Time

A court may at times award majority parenting time to the father, while in other situations the court may decide on a joint arrangement. Unless you are declared “unfit,” you may have a right to parenting time as your child’s mother even the child is not living with you for most of the time. The parent with whom the child is living with is referred to as the residential parent, and the other parent is referred to as the non-residential parent.

A non-residential parent may ask the court to order parenting time that is based on established guidelines. These guidelines consider the age of the child, availability of the parent, and any activities in which the child participates. If you have questions about how these guidelines might apply to your unique case in Joliet, a mother’s right lawyer from our firm would be happy to explain further.

Consult with a Joliet Mother’s Rights Attorney

Courts in Illinois no longer automatically award majority parenting time to the mother and a parenting time schedule to the father. It may be important for you to speak with a Joliet mother’s rights lawyer to ensure your rights are protected.

Our seasoned attorneys here at Reidy Law Office LLC are familiar with the laws and guidelines Joliet courts follow to establish parental rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, so we could discuss your situation with you and guide you every step of the way towards resolving it.