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When a child is born out of wedlock, the father of that child may face difficulties in establishing his parental rights. A common matter that fathers are not aware of is the fact that under Illinois law, no custodial or visitation rights are granted to a father whose child is born out of wedlock until the court orders that a biological relationship does in fact exist between the two. After such an order by the court, either parent of the child can seek additional orders from the court pertaining to custodial and visitation rights and child support. If you are an unwed parent and have to deal with custody, visitation, child support, and any other matters in paternity court, it is best that you seek assistance from an experienced attorney.
What is Legal Paternity?
Generally, paternity is the relationship between a father and their child, while legal paternity is established by the law. Legal paternity, as recognized under Illinois law, affords a father certain rights and responsibilities as it relates to the child.
How is Legal Paternity Established?
There are three means in which one may establish paternity under Illinois Law. These include presumption, consent and judicial determination.
Presumption: Paternity is presumed when the father is married to the child's mother at the time the child the woman gives birth. Paternity is also presumed when the father is married to the child's mother at the time the child was conceived; this presumption is still applied if the marriage has been dissolved by the time the child is born.
Consent: If the father marries the mother after the child has been born, but is named on the child's birth certificate as the father—after submitting the required written consent granting permission to the mother to place his name on the birth certificate—then he is considered the legal father.
Judicial Determination: If the mother and father have voluntarily signed an Acknowledgment of Paternity Form, then legal paternity is established for all purposes.
You Have Established Legal Paternity. What Happens Now?
Once legal paternity is established, only then can a father petition for custody of a child or for visitation rights. Similarly, not only are there rights, but there are responsibilities, as well. A court can order a father pay child support until the child is 18 years old, including retroactive child support, which would begin from the time the child was born.
Seek the Assistance of Experienced AttorneysIf you have matters to address in paternity court, whether you are trying to challenge or establish legal paternity, or just to modify a court order relating to custody, visitation or support, it is always good to hire an experienced DuPage County paternity attorney to represent you. Martoccio & Martoccio is located in Hinsdale, IL and serves all of DuPage, Cook, Kane, Kendall and Will County. Contact us today, either online or at 630-920-8855, and we can set up your free initial consultation and start assisting you in any of your paternity-related matters.