Fathers’ Rights and Needs During a Divorce: Considering Self-Care
By: Gordon & Perlut, LLC
Many discussions concerning fathers’ rights in a divorce case often revolve around a father’s ability to co-parent, or a father’s ability to share parental responsibilities, including significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time.
Illinois divorce and family laws largely have become more egalitarian when it comes to issues of gender inequality and gender-based assumptions regarding divorcing parents. For example, a Chicago area court will never give preference to the child’s mother solely because she is the mother. However, despite the fact mothers and fathers, or men and women, are treated more equally by family law courts in child custody cases, many psychology studies and focuses on parental rights and needs still largely focus on how women can maintain their parental rights while taking care of themselves during a difficult divorce and child custody case. When it comes to matters of self-care, it is also important for fathers to think about their parental rights and needs.
Of course, when the court is making decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities, it will focus on what is in the best interests of the child. Parent’s needs are not listed as a factor to be considered under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (although the wishes of the parents can be taken into account). However, when fathers are advocating for their parental rights in court or family mediation, they should also be thinking about self-care matters that help to make them better parents during and after a difficult child custody case.
Communication and Cooperation Can Be Key
According to the American Psychology Association (APA), communication and cooperation are key elements of a both successful child custody cases and co-parenting situations once a divorce is finalized. These elements can also help keep stress and anxiety levels low during a complicated or contentious child custody case. By focusing on cooperation and communication strategies, a father who is going through a divorce may also be able to improve the relationship with the other parent, which benefits the child once an allocation judgment is issued.
Thinking About Your Own Health
It is important for fathers to remember that health during a child custody case is not just about physical health. While physical health is certainly necessary and the APA emphasizes parents should “stay physically healthy by eating right and getting exercise,” fathers should also focus on their emotional and psychological needs during a child custody case.
Fathers should stay involved with activities they enjoy and should consider joining support groups or speaking to friends and family members about the emotional toll of the divorce. It’s also good advice to consider seeing a psychologist.
Contact a Fathers’ Rights Lawyer in the Chicago area
Going through a complex child custody case is difficult for any father, and it is critical to have experienced legal representation on your side. One of the dedicated Chicago fathers’ rights attorneys at our firm can talk with you today about your case and can discuss representation in your child custody matter. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC to learn more about how we can assist you.