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What Rights Do Unmarried Fathers Have in Illinois?

Posted on in Family Law

DuPage County family law attorneyMost people would agree that the bond between a parent and their child is a special, sacred one. Illinois courts have adopted this principle and use it in nearly all legal matters concerning children. When parents are unable to agree on certain issues, like parenting time or visitation, the judge will make the final decision with the intention of preserving the relationship the child has with each parent. Under Illinois law, fathers have just as much of a right to a relationship with their children as mothers do. Even though it may feel like a never-ending battle when you are an unmarried father, it is important to realize that there are ways to secure and protect your parenting rights regarding your child.

Is Your Child’s Paternity Established?

Before an unwed father can legally claim any rights to his child, he must first establish paternity of the child. In many cases, establishing paternity can be as easy as filling out and signing the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form at the hospital when the baby is born. In cases in which the child’s paternity is contested, you may have to use other methods of confirming the child’s paternity, such as genetic testing. Either parent can request genetic testing to determine whether or not the alleged father is truly the biological father. Once you have established paternity through any legally recognized method, you can petition for rights regarding your child, such as parenting time and parental decision-making responsibilities.

Rights to Parenting Time

Any issue involving children in Illinois family courts is decided with the child’s best interests at the forefront. When it comes to parenting time, in most cases, the judge will determine that spending time with both parents is in the best interest of the child. In addition, the law clearly states that it is presumed that “both parents are fit and the court shall not place any restrictions on parenting time” unless it is found that either parent would endanger the child’s wellbeing.

Rights to Parental Decision-Making Responsibilities

Much like parenting time, both the mother and father have the right to have decision-making responsibilities for the children. The courts are required to also treat this issue in a gender-neutral manner. This means that the court cannot give more decision-making power to the mother simply because she is the mother. The court cannot restrict the rights of either parent without justification and proof to do so.

Contact a Naperville, IL Paternity Lawyer Today

Many unmarried fathers worry about being able to maintain their relationship with their child when they do not agree with the child’s mother on certain issues. At Goostree Law Group, we understand the importance of having your children in your life. Our team of skilled DuPage County paternity attorneys can help you ensure your parental rights are protected during any contested issue. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 630-364-4046.

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=3638&ChapterID=59

https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/FormsBrochures/Pages/hfs3282.aspx

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