Can an Unmarried Father Stop Child Removal by the Mother?

For many years, in Illinois, a father who was not married to the mother of his child could do nothing to prevent her from relocating that child to another state or country.

Now, a father who was not on the birth certificate of his child has the ability to seek legal help by petitioning the Court to prevent the baby's mother from temporarily or permanently removing his child from Illinois until the issues of custody and visitation had been decided by the Court.

The father can file for what is called an "injunction" and request that the Court stop the mother taking the child from Illinois.

The Illinois Paternity Act (section 13.5) requires that the Court consider the following factors in deciding to help the father stop the removal of his child to another state including, but not limited to:

1. The extent of previous involvement with the child by the party seeking to enjoin removal (meaning has the father had visitation with the child or been seeing the child on a regular basis?)

2. The likelihood that parentage will be established (meaning will a DNA test or other evidence prove he is the father?)

3. The impact on the financial, physical, and emotional health of the party being enjoined from removing the child (meaning how will stopping relocation to another state affect the baby's mother?)

If the mother is a victim of domestic violence the father's petition may be denied (750 I LCS 45/13.5).

Illinois law additionally states that "any party" may seek in such an injunction. That would include someone who has raised the child from birth, for example, or has been primarily responsible for the child for some extended period, such as aunt or grandmother.

So long story short, even if the baby's father did not acknowledge the child at birth by signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP) form he still has standing to seek a court order stopping the baby mother from taking his child from Illinois.

If you are in need of an Illinois child custody or child removal attorney, call the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio at 630-920-8855.

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