When it comes to deciding who an Illinois child should reside with and how long a child visits a non-custodial parent, the determination is made by the court if the parents are unable to agree. The terms are typically based upon the likelihood of the child being able to thrive better with one parent vs the other.
When parents are not married and mothers have physical custody of their children, fathers can request parenting time when both parents agree upon paternity. A father can also have a DNA test done to confirm the biological relationship. After paternity has been established, both parents can request establishment of custody terms. This includes each parent’s responsibility regarding visitation rights, health insurance, financial support, and education.
If the agreed terms are approved by a judge, the parents can proceed to fulfill their duties. However, if both parties cannot cooperate effectively, a judge can make a ruling after determining that the child is better off living full time with one parent. Most children of unwed parents generally reside with their mothers except in cases of negligence. Regardless of the current custody situation, if a father is able to care for a child in a stable environment, he may want to file for joint or sole physical custody if circumstances warrant.
Research indicates that children are likely to develop better when both parents play an intricate role in their child-rearing years. However, in order to create a situation that enables a child to grow in a stable environment, parents should act in the best interests of the child. Parents may want to meet with a child custody lawyer if a agreement modification needs to be filed to protect visitation rights or resolve a child custody dispute.