Assisting You With Paternity Concerns
Unmarried fathers and mothers have the same parental rights as married couples. To enforce your rights, however, you must first establish paternity or parentage of your child. In Illinois, this is done with a DNA test if there is any question of parentage.
As a family law attorney with more than 30 years of experience in Wheaton and the western Chicago suburbs, attorney Terry Fawell can advise you about issues such as child support, child custody, visitation and relocation. Fawell & Fawell offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
The Rights Of Unmarried Parents
- Mothers usually file paternity cases to receive child support and help with child care expenses. Fathers typically do so after the mother has refused to allow them contact with the children.
- In the past, it used to be a foregone conclusion that the mother would have custody of children if the parties never married. Now, it is common for fathers to seek joint or sole custody. The courts consider what is in the child’s best interests.
- A paternity case deals with many of the same issues as divorce. Unmarried parents deal with issues such as child support, day care expenses, health coverage, and child custody and visitation.
- If the parents do not agree on a parenting plan, the court will refer them to mediation.
I Already Know I’m The Father. Why Bother Establishing Paternity?
While it may seem like a hassle to go through the steps necessary to be legally named your child’s father, it does offer many potential benefits. Fathers’ rights include:
- The right to spend time with your child
- The right to add your name to your child’s birth certificate
- The right to help make important decisions related to your child’s medical care, schooling and more
- The chance to ensure that your child can receive benefits from you such as Social Security and veterans benefits
What If My Ex-Girlfriend Moves Away?
Once you have established your parental rights, your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend can’t remove your child from Illinois without permission from you or a court. We can represent mothers or fathers in removal hearings.
My Wife Gave Birth To A Child Who Is Not Mine. Now What?
If you are not the father of a child born to your spouse, then you have the option of filling out a denial of paternity. After that, your wife and the biological father can complete a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity form.