Fathers' Rights The Legal Guidance You Need and the Personal Attention You Deserve

Fathers’ Rights Attorneys in Chicago

Helping Fathers Win Custody in Illinois

a sketch of a child on their father's shoulders

Historically, there has been a clear bias in divorce and family law cases wherein mothers are given preference over fathers for custody and parenting time. Yet studies show that children benefit from having a father figure in their lives.

Illinois is not a "mother state" or "father state." Nowadays, courts do not maintain any bias or preferential treatment when deciding family law cases – yet there are still fathers throughout the country who lack parental rights. So how can a father win custody in Illinois?

At the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., our fathers’ rights attorneys in Chicago are dedicated to upholding our clients’ rights and helping them obtain rightful access to their children. We recognize the struggle that many fathers face in court and are determined to fight for them.


Discuss your Illinois fathers' rights with us today by calling (312) 487-2795 or contacting us online.


Fathers’ Rights in Illinois – Can a Father Win Custody?

In Illinois, fathers have the same parental rights as mothers – but unfortunately, a father’s rights are often more likely to be infringed upon than a mother’s. If you are facing unfair treatment or believe your parental rights as a father have been violated, consult with the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C.

We routinely handle fathers' rights cases in Chicago involving:

  • Child custody: Despite statutes ending outdated gender biases in family court proceedings, many mothers still receive custody while fathers struggle to obtain legal and/or physical custody. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., we fight to ensure that custody decisions are truly in the best interests of the child – which often means granting fathers custody rights.
  • Visitation: Even if a father does not receive custody of a child, he should still have the right to visitation (barring extreme circumstances). Many fathers face false allegations of abuse or neglect or are denied visitation rights when the mother of their children fails to uphold a parenting agreement. Our Chicago fathers’ rights attorneys can assist with any of these kinds of cases.
  • Child support: Our firm can assist you if you have been saddled with an unreasonable child support payment obligation. We can also step in if you are not receiving enough child support from the mother of your child.

Who Gets Custody if There Is No Court Order in Illinois?

In cases of unmarried parents, only the mother has parental rights at birth. Unmarried fathers must establish paternity, either at birth or after the child is born, in order to have rights when it comes to accessing their children. Once paternity is established, then an unmarried father has the right to seek a court order for custody or visitation, if they need to.

Unmarried Fathers' Rights in Illinois

unmarried fathers rights

In Illinois, unmarried fathers have a harder time getting custody. As an unmarried father, your first step should be to ensure a finding of paternity is made to protect your fathers' rights to custody and visitation. Otherwise, the mother is likely to be given sole legal and residential custody.

Under the Illinois Parentage Act (750 ILCS 45/1 et. seq.), unmarried parents can establish paternity:

  • By Consent at Birth – Unmarried parents fill out forms in the hospital showing that they agree upon the father's paternity and consent to establish paternity at the time of the child's birth. If there is a presumed father other than seeking paternity, then that person must sign the forms as well to relinquish any paternity rights.
  • By Consent After Birth – Both parents fill out a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form and file it with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
  • Through Child Support Services – The Illinois Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) Child Support Services enters an Administrative Paternity Order.
  • Via a Paternity Suit – The unmarried father or mother, or even the child, can file suit to establish the existence of a father-child relationship and of paternity via an Order of Paternity.

Chicago Fathers’ Rights Lawyers – Pursuing Justice for Fathers

You have the right to visit or parent your biological child. Every case is different, but our firm is committed to helping fathers establish and protect their rights. Do not hesitate to consult with our Chicago fathers’ rights attorneys.


Call (312) 487-2795 to set up your free 20-minute consultation about your fathers' rights in Chicago.


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Our Attorneys have a Long History

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