Getting Child Support If the Parents Were Never Married

 Posted on December 29, 2023 in Family Law

DuPage County family lawyerSometimes, relationships do not work out, and one must face the inevitability of a breakup. However, what if you and your now ex-partner share a child? Can child support payments still be received if the parents were never married? Parental responsibilities can get tricky for unwed parents, and it may be a good idea to turn to a knowledgeable attorney for direction.

Establishing Paternity is Important

Paternity is automatically established when the parents are married and together during conception. However, without established paternity, the state of Illinois does not recognize an unwed father as a child’s presumed father. Until paternity can be established, the mother will have sole parental responsibilities for the child.

An unwed father can establish paternity in Illinois in one of three ways:

  • The father was married to the mother at conception, even if they were divorced at the time of the birth
  • The father’s name is on the child’s birth certificate as the biological father after receiving authorization from both parents in writing
  • The father takes a genetic (DNA) test, and it shows them as the biological father

Paternity and Parents’ Rights

Once paternity has been established, an unwed father can now be granted the same rights to their child as if he were married to the mother. The father is also now potentially on the hook for child support payments if the court deems it necessary.

Rights a presumed or biological father is granted include:

  • Decision-making responsibilities
  • Parenting time
  • Child support
  • Inheritance

Decision-making Responsibilities

A parent is given a say over a child’s upbringing, which includes:

  • Religion
  • Medical care
  • Education

One parent is generally regarded as the parent with significant decision-making rights for a child. The judge will determine who the parent with majority decision-making rights is by using several factors, including:

  • What the child wants
  • What the child needs
  • What the parents want
  • The physical and mental health of all parties
  • How cooperative the parents are and will be
  • Prior agreements between the parents regarding the child
  • The distance between parent’s residences
  • Any history of abuse in the parent’s households

The ultimate decision is entirely based on the best interest of the child.

Parenting Time

Parenting time is the time a child and parent can spend together. Generally, the parents or a judge will create a schedule that will determine the times and dates, including holidays and vacations, for when a parent and child may visit one another. The same factors are considered for decision-making responsibilities and will focus on a child’s best interest.

Child Support

Unwed parents will use the same child support calculations that formerly-wed parents do. Child support obligations are calculated using the following considerations:

  • The income, resources, and allotted parenting time of both parents
  • The physical, mental, emotional, and educational needs of the child
  • The child’s standard of living requirements

Backdated child support is also possible should one parent request it and the court grant it. The time of obligation for any backdated child support begins at the point when both parents are no longer living together. Had they never lived together, child support back payments may begin from the child’s birth date.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Family Law Attorney

So long as paternity can be established, it is possible to receive court-ordered child support payments for your children. Contact a Hinsdale, IL child support lawyer for help in procuring a petition for paternity if the alleged father refuses to cooperate in determining parentage. The Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can assist in any legal matters regarding parental responsibilities, child support, spousal maintenance, or divorce. Connect with us for a free consultation at 630-920-8855.

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