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Stay-at-Home Dads and the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County family lawyerWhile fathers have always played an important role in the upbringing and development of children, they have not always been treated as such by the courts. This was often due to the assignment of traditional gender roles. Further, it was originally thought that the mother was more critical than the father was in the child’s early years. Yet, as time passed, fathers began to gain important recognition in the lives of their children. The composition of families also started to change. Now, there are fathers who stay home with their children while the mothers work outside of the home. Does this necessarily affect the allocation of parental responsibilities or assignment of parenting time in divorce though?

How Child-Related Matters Are Determined

In Illinois, divorcing parents are encouraged to negotiate an agreement regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and the parenting time details of their case. Generally, this offers numerous benefits for families, including the freedom to create a parenting plan that is tailored to meet their family’s specific needs. For example, if the couple feels the child and family would benefit most from the father receiving a greater allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time because he works from home, they could create and agree upon a parenting plan that reflects this decision.

Not all divorcing couples are able to agree upon child-related matters, however. Further, not all families should attempt direct negotiations, such as in situations involving domestic violence. In these cases, the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time are decided by the courts. To make this determination, the judge will look at a number of factors to determine the best interests of the child, including:

  • The wishes and needs of the child

  • The wishes of each parent

  • The child’s involvement and adjustment to school, community, and home

  • Each parent’s willingness to encourage a healthy and ongoing relationship with the other parent

  • Previous agreements regarding decision-making for the child

  • Each parent’s prior involvement in the child’s daily upbringing

  • The parents’ ability to cooperate and make decisions in the best interest of their child

  • The distance between each parent’s residence and any difficulties in transporting the child

  • Instances of physical violence or threat of violence by either parent

  • Neglect or abuse against the child or against another member of the household

  • The mental, physical, and emotional health of all parties involved

  • Any other factors that the court deems relevant

What This May Mean for Stay-at-Home Dads

While, on one hand, a judge might consider granting a stay-at-home dad a greater allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, this may not always be the case. If, for example, the stay-at-home dad has a substance abuse problem that essentially required the mother to work to support the family, this could be used as a factor against him. Every situation and family is different, and it is important to note that many factors go into determining which parent receives the greatest allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities.

Contact Our Kane County Family Law Attorneys

Divorce is a complex matter, from both a legal and emotional perspective. The experienced St. Charles parental responsibilities lawyers at Goostree Law Group can help you manage the issues you are facing while also ensuring that your rights and the rights of your child are protected. Call 630-584-4800 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.



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