If you are currently seeking or facing a divorce, you may be uncertain about your rights as a mother. You may assume that you have more rights because you are the primary caretaker for your child. Due to recent changes in Illinois law, this may not necessarily be true.

You could benefit from a consultation with a Will County mother’s rights lawyer from Reidy Law Office LLC who could explain the current law and how it applies to your situation. Our seasoned child custody attorneys could provide sound advice every step of the way and represent your interests effectively and efficiently.

Mother’s Rights Under State Law

Both parents have the legal right to make decisions and spend time with their children in Will County. The modern trend for courts is to weigh the role of the mother and father equally when determining decision-making and care-taking responsibilities. In keeping with this trend, the terms “custody” and “visitation” have been replaced with “parental responsibility” and “parenting time,” respectively.

In cases where paternity has not been established, a father typically has no legal right to parenting time or decision making for the child. The father may need to either acknowledge paternity through a court filing or prove it through a DNA test to exercise his parental rights. When a couple is married, a child born during the marriage is presumed to be the child of the marriage and the husband is presumed to be the father and has parental rights without needing to establish paternity.

Best Interests of the Child

Historically, mothers were thought to be the better caretakers of children and were generally granted majority parenting time—previously known as physical custody—in divorces. This was notably emphasized during the early years of kids, which was known as the “tender years.” In recent years, courts have decided that traditional roles should be less of a consideration in granting parenting rights compared to the “best interests of the child.”

The court scrutinizes a variety of factors to ensure that a parenting time assignment will provide the best possible lifestyle for the child. Some of the potential factors the court considers may include:

  • Relationship of the child with each parent
  • Involvement of third parties whose relationships are important to the child
  • The wishes of the child, if they are of an appropriate age
  • The wishes of the parents
  • Child’s involvement in school and community
  • The physical and mental health of the child and parents
  • Ability and willingness of the parents to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent

Determining Parenting Schedules

The court may determine that a mother should not receive the bulk of the parenting time available for her child in certain cases. Even if the child resides most of the time with their father, you may still have substantial rights as the mother.

With help from a mother’s right lawyer in Will County, you may request a court-ordered schedule that follows some general guidelines. While the schedule varies based on a variety of factors that may include the child’s age and daily activities, it typically allows for parenting time to be granted along some or all of the following lines:

  • Alternating weekends with one weeknight after school/work
  • Holidays divided equally
  • Alternating school vacations
  • Mother’s Day and mother’s birthday with the mother
  • Parenting time for each parent on the child’s birthday

Decision-Making Authority

“Parental responsibility” is the authority to make major decisions in the child’s life in four main categories:

  • Religious upbringing
  • Education
  • Dental, medical, and psychological health
  • Extracurricular activities such as sports and clubs

Most of the time, parents are awarded joint parental responsibilities so that they make major decisions together. If you do not hold joint responsibility with your child’s other parent, you have the right to request access to the child’s school and medical information through a Will County mother’s rights lawyer.

Contact a Will County Mother’s Rights Lawyer

Mother’s rights law in Will County could be confusing, and you may need sound legal advice from a knowledgeable lawyer to understand it completely. A Will County mother’s rights lawyer from our team could help you understand the law and navigate the court system in pursuit of a positive resolution to your situation.

Your children are important, and you need to exercise your rights as their mother. Do not take risks with your ability to do so—call Reidy Law Office LLC today at (708) 580-6767 to speak with one of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys about your case.