There is no legal reason why fathers should not be awarded custody of their children just as often as mothers. The section of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act that lists the factors for an award of child custody is gender neutral. In the past it was presumed that in “traditional” families the mother would stay at home to take care of the children. As the mother was traditionally the primary caretaker of the children courts favored women in child-custody disputes. However, with the return of women to the work force and traditional notions of family being thrown out the window, either parent has an equal chance of being awarded child custody.
Jeffrey W. Brend is a CPA and family-law attorney practicing with Chicago law firm Levin & Brend, P.C. He is the only person in the country affiliated with both the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the American Society of Appraisers. He can be reached at (312) 726-4440. View his Divorce Magazine profile.