Within the family court, legal matters centering on issues related to divorce, alimony, child custody, visitation, and support are among the most sensitive and volatile of situations. Decisions made during these proceedings have the impact to affect the parties involved both personally and financially in the present, as well as in years to come. At Sabuco, Beck, Hansen & Massino, P.C., we provide aggressive representation to both men and women involved in these types of issues. Whereas women have traditionally been the ones who maintained custody of the family home and children, and often claimed alimony from their husbands, changes in the traditional roles held by men and women in terms of being caregivers and providers have made the area of men’s rights an emerging and important legal issue.
According to recent U.S. Census data figures, men are increasingly involved in the care and upbringing of their children, with increasing numbers acting as the primary caregiver in two parent homes, while more single fathers retain custody of their children post-divorce. These changing roles are reflected in recent changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), affecting two main areas in regards to men’s rights:
In previous generations, the courts were more inclined to award child custody to mothers while granting fathers visitation rights and requiring them to pay child support. With the changing roles of men and women within the home, modifications to IMDMA reflect these changes by changing the wording to represent changing social norms in the division of parenting duties and responsibilities. Under the IMDMA, child custody is now referred to as the ‘division of parental responsibilities’ and visitation rights have given way to more inclusive and flexible parenting plans. These changes allow men to be more involved as fathers, to spend more time with their children, and to have more of a say in making decisions which impact their families’ lives. In cases in which children spend at least half of their time with their father, child support may be waived, or may even be required of the mother in the situation.
Changes to the IMDMA now make Illinois a no-fault divorce state, in which grounds for divorce, such as adultery or desertion, are no longer required for a divorce to be granted. While this makes obtaining a divorce more efficient, it does not solve issues related to the payment of alimony or maintenance and support. As increasing numbers of women have made great strides in terms of career advancement and pay equality, in many marriages the wife may make just as much, if not more, than the husband. In situations where a wife’s income is greater, or in which the husband has deferred his own career in the interests of supporting his wife and his child by working within the home, the husband himself may be entitled to an award of alimony, as well as being awarded the right to retain material possessions, such as the family home.
If you are a man who is concerned about your rights in divorce or child custody proceedings, contact Sabuco, Beck, Hansen & Massino, P.C. today. Our experienced Will County family law attorneys provide the aggressive legal representation you need to ensure your rights and interests are protected.
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