Establishing Parentage, Custody Rights And Support For Nonmarried Parents
Illinois law presumes that the male is the father of any children conceived during marriage. This is not the same presumption when the parents are not married. It is necessary to legally establish parentage before the father can assert parental rights or before the mother can ask for child support.
The law firm of Schwulst & Roseberry, P.C., represents unmarried parents in paternity, custody and related matters of family law. We can arrange DNA testing to resolve any questions of parentage and we can represent fathers or mothers in negotiation or litigation of parenting arrangements and financial support of children born out of wedlock. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
Illinois Fathers’ Rights And Mothers’ Rights Attorneys
Paternity matters can be complicated and emotionally charged. However, the Illinois Parentage Act is clear regarding the rights and obligations of unmarried parents:
• The father is responsible for medical expenses related to prenatal care and childbirth.
• The father is obligated to pay child support (retroactive to the date of birth).
• The father must share medical, dental and optical expenses with the other parent and must share in college expenses for the child.
• The father has a right to visitation with the child. The mother cannot withhold access without a valid reason or for failure to pay child support.
• An unmarried parent needs the approval of the court to move the child out of state, even if there is no parentage order or custody order in place.
Signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity allows an unmarried father to establish parentage without a court order. The father has 60 days to rescind if he learns otherwise.
If either the putative father or the mother denies that the child is his, the court can require a paternity test. Genetic testing (DNA test) is considered definitive legal proof one way or the other.
Any man who believes he may be the biological father of a child should register with the Putative Father Registry to preserve his custody rights. Many dads learn too late that they have a son or daughter. There is no recourse or legal standing once the child is adopted by another family or by a stepparent if the biological father failed to register with the Putative Father Registry or initiate a prompt paternity action to establish his parental rights.
Presumed paternity can be challenged, but only within a certain time frame. If you now suspect you are not the father of a child (in or out of wedlock), you should seek legal counsel immediately.
Bloomington Lawyers For Nonmarried Parents
Once parentage is established, the court will determine child support according to the same guidelines used for divorcing couples. We can represent either party in proceedings or negotiations for child support levels and arrearages.
If parentage is upheld, the father can petition the court for visitation or shared custody. We represent either parent in working out a practical parenting schedule. If the dad has not been involved with the child, the court may start with shorter or supervised visitation and phase in a greater role over time.
Let Us Be Your Family Law Advocates
Our experienced lawyers offer the first half-hour of consultation for free to determine if we can address your legal problem. Call our Bloomington family law attorneys at 309-751-4101 or email us today, and we will respond promptly.