Archive for the ‘Paternity’ Category

Paternity Testing and Unmarried Fathers’ Rights

January 20th, 2015 at 10:25 am

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois Parentage Act of 1984When an unmarried couple has a child, the father does not automatically have the same rights to his son or daughter as a married father has to his child. This is because unless a couple is married at the time of the child’s birth or the mother was married at the time of conception, her husband or former husband is assumed to be the father. With this assumption comes the title of “legal father,” which comes with all the standard rights a father has to his child.

Unmarried fathers need to prove their paternity in order to have rights to their children. These rights are outlined in the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 and include the following:

  • The right to seek partial or full custody of the child;
  • The right to add his name to the child’s birth certificate; and
  • The mother’s right to seek child support payments from the father.

Until paternity is established, a man is considered to be a child’s “alleged father.” Once it is established, he becomes the child’s legal father.

How to Establish Paternity in Illinois

There are three ways to establish paternity in Illinois. They are as follows:

  • Through a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form. When a couple opts to acknowledge paternity this way, both the mother and father must complete, sign, and date it while in the presence of a witness. This can be done immediately following a child’s birth.
  • By an Order of Paternity, which is ordered and enforced by a judge.
  • Through an Administrative Paternity Order. This order is entered by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Child Support Services. The department contacts both parents to gather information regarding the child’s paternity and, if the father voluntarily acknowledges his paternity, he becomes the child’s legal father. He has the right to request genetic testing to prove his paternity.

If a woman’s husband or former husband is not her child’s biological father, he has the right to sign a Denial of Paternity form. This releases him from any rights and responsibilities he has toward the child. The mother and her child’s biological father must then sign Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form.

Paternity and Child Support

Once paternity is established, the child’s mother may seek child support payments from the child’s father. Generally, the court uses the same factors to decide an appropriate child support amount that it uses to decide an amount for divorcing parents. These include each parent’s income, the child’s personal needs, and other financial considerations for the child and the parents.

Contact an Illinois Family Attorney

Our experienced Kane County family attorneys understand the struggles of seeking paternity for your child and the issues that accompany this search, such as child support, child custody, and the relationship between your child and his or her father. Contact our office today to discuss your needs with one of our family-oriented attorneys.

Benefits & Consequences: Having a Child without Getting Married

May 12th, 2014 at 9:05 am

Chicago family law, establishing paternity, getting married, Illinois law, Kane County family law lawyer, presuming paternity, St. Charles, putative father, Putative Father Registry, claiming paternity in IllinoisWomen of today have more options than women of earlier generations. It used to be that women who became pregnant out of wedlock had no choice but to marry, or else confront lives of poverty and social isolation. While that unfortunate scenario is the reality for some women, others have found that single motherhood affords more stability than marriage.

Lily’s story is one example. She broke up with her boyfriend Carl while pregnant because she feared he would make caring for their child more difficult. Carl had trouble holding down a job, and Lily decided she could not depend on him. Furthermore, because Lily and Carl were not married when she gave birth, and because his name is not on the birth certificate, he has no legal parenting rights. For Lily, that was the desired outcome. But is that what Carl wanted? What if Carl decides he wants to claim paternity? What rights would Carl, or any putative father, have under Illinois law?

Presuming or Establishing Paternity

Illinois law presumes paternity if:

  • The man was married to the child’s biological mother when the child was conceived;
  • The man marries the child’s mother after conception and gives written consent to be listed on the birth certificate as the father;
  • The man and woman sign an acknowledgement of paternity; or
  • The man and woman sign an acknowledgment of parentage or if they sign an acknowledgment of parentage with a denial of paternity (if the presumed father is not actually the natural father).

A man who is not the presumed father must establish paternity before he can seek custody or visitation rights. Ideally, he would do so immediately. One consequence of not establishing paternity is the mother may put the child up for adoption without the putative father’s consent. To avoid this, the father should register with the Putative Father Registry within 30 days of the child’s birth. Then he should begin legal proceedings to officially establish paternity within another 30 days.

Once paternity is established, the father can petition for sole or joint custody. The court will make a custody determination based on what is in the best interest of the child. Illinois, unlike some states, does not presume that joint custody is best. The court will consider various factors, including each parent’s financial situation and health.

If awarded joint custody, the parents will make major decisions about the child together. It is important to understand, however, that joint custody does not mean joint parenting time. One parent will have residential custody, meaning that the child will live with that parent. The other parent will have visitation rights.

Custody battles can be contentious, especially if you first need to establish paternity. We understand the stress involved in proving that you are your child’s father, and we can explain your rights and responsibilities under the law. We also understand that not all families are the same. We will work with you and put your child’s interests first. Contact one of our experienced Illinois family law attorneys today. We can assist those in the St. Charles area.

Questions about Paternity in Illinois

February 22nd, 2014 at 12:06 pm

adoption, paternity, child support, DNA, Father, Illinois Parentage Act, Paternity, Vital Records ActRegardless of whether you are a man or a woman, there may come a time in your life when you are forced to question the paternity of your son or daughter. This is never an easy question to confront because there is so much depending on the outcome. Paternity cases, like any family law cases, are difficult for all involved, and understanding your rights is essential.

The Law

The Illinois Parentage Act of 1984, promulgated at 750 ILCS 45, sets forth the rules which establish a parent-child relationship. Pursuant to the Illinois Parentage Act, the parent-child relationship is established if there is proof that the natural mother has given birth to the child. Adoptive parents can establish the parent-child relationship by proof of adoption or through the “Vital Records Act.” The natural father of the child or children can be shown through DNA Typing.

Under the law, the following statements are true:

  • A man is presumed to be the father if the child is conceived or born while he and the mother are or have been married;
  • A man is presumed to be the father if he and the mother marry after the child’s birth, and he has given written consent to be named on the child’s birth certificate;
  • It is presumed that the man is the father if he and the mother have signed an acknowledgement of paternity;
  • If the man is not the natural father though, he may deny paternity, but acknowledge parentage to establish the parent-child relationship.

Paternity Concerns

Various reasons can compel the mother, father, or both to want to verify the true paternity of the child or children. Most often, the question of paternity arises in connection with custody and visitation, but the issue of paternity also concerns child support. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, found at 750 ILCS 5/505, sets forth the rules concerning child support.

Regardless of the reason that drives you to determine the paternity of the child in question, know that you have rights and responsibilities that coincide with that determination, and seeking legal help should be a priority.

Legal Help

If you or someone you know has questions about the laws concerning paternity, contact an experienced professional. As a mother or father, you have rights concerning the paternity of the child or children in question. The Professionals at Shaw, Jacobs, Goostree & Associates, P.C., can guide you through the issues and laws concerning paternity. Call today 630.584.4800.

Paternity Testing

September 21st, 2013 at 1:58 pm

As time progresses on, society continues to change, and today, it is more likely than ever that people will have more than one sexual partner in their lifetime. This is also becoming more socially acceptable, although some people do still frown upon physical intimacy before marriage. For those people that do participate in the act, however, legal issues can arise and become exceedingly more complicated.

LucyIf a child is conceived out of wedlock, there is a chance that the mother will not know who the real father is. Even if the mother thinks that she knows, she cannot be certain unless she only had one partner around the time of conception.

Some men are thrilled to assume that the child is theirs and take on fatherhood responsibilities, but others do not want to be tricked into fatherhood of a child that is not theirs. To know for certain, a paternity test can determine the child’s biological father.

Testing to determine a child’s biological father is important, not only for the parents, but also for the child for many reasons such as:

  • Having accurate family medical history available for the child, which is especially helpful in the event of a genetic disease or disorder that may arise as the child grows
  • Having access to certain social and legal benefits like veteran’s and inheritance benefits and social security

Most states require hospitals to have an Acknowledgment of Paternity (AOP), which states who the father is, signed by unmarried parents when the child is born. If a couple has been unmarried for at least 300 days, then there will simply be no father listed on the birth certificate until the legal document is filled out, at which point the father will be added to the birth certificate.

Once the AOP is signed, the father listed, even if he is not truly the biological father, will be held legally accountable for the child. This is, unless the couple requests a DNA test to be done and they change the AOP. The DNA test and AOP is especially important to fathers if the mother is married to someone else, because the husband will be assumed to be the father of the child and he will be listed on the birth certificate as the legal father.

The biological father can, then, still request an AOP and be listed as the child’s father on the birth certificate if the husband and man currently listed as the father signs a denial of paternity, stating that he is not truly the father. If he refuses to sign the denial, the biological father can take further action in court.

If you are a biological father to a child who has someone else, or maybe no one, listed as his or her father on their birth certificate, contact a family law attorney for assistance. Shaw Jacobs Goosetree & Associates are located in Kane County, Ill. and are available to help you claim fatherhood today.

Paternity & Fathers Rights | Illinois Family Lawyer

March 8th, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Pick up any tabloid magazine and you’re sure to find at least one article about celebrity couple Kim Kardashian and Kanye West and the new baby they have on the way. But a recent article in The Examiner raises the question as to who legally under California law, where the couple reside, could be considered the baby’s father.

KerryKardashian is still legally married to pro-basketball player Kris Humphries. And although highly unlikely Humphries would attempt to lay claim to paternity of the baby, under California law, he could legally be entitled to do just that.  In California, the husband of a pregnant woman is legally presumed to be the baby’s father.  Although the presumption of the law is that the married couple must be residing together, something that Kardashian and Humphries have not done in quite some time, Humphries could possibly use that law to his advantage in any divorce financial settlement negotiations.

However the Kardashian/West baby situation plays out, it emphasizes the importance of establishing paternity. When relationships are working and everyone is happy, there usually aren’t any issues such as financial responsibility for a child. But when relationships end, the fighting may begin.  Child support and other financial obligations need to be determined.

Children are also entitled to certain paternal benefits, including inheritance rights and Social Security and veteran’s benefits. If you have a child whose biological father is refusing to pay child support, contact an experienced Illinois family lawyer today to legally fight for your child and obtain what they are entitled to.



The Importance of a Court Order for Child Support

January 15th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

When determining child custody, it can be a long and difficult road to walk, especially if the divorce is less than amiable. Despite the difficulties in ceasing to trust the co-parent of your child, there are some important things to keep in mind when determining child custody, according to the Huffington Post. The first is that child custody needs to be determined by court order—not just by words and a friendly agreement—before the child is sent to visit the other parent. Obtaining a court order is the first step to enforcing child support payments, and is best done with the assistance of a qualified and experienced divorce attorney.

To enforce a child support order in Illinois you first need to be aware of the state laws. According to a publication from Southern Illinois University, “the law which governs most of the area of child support in Illinois is the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.” The amount of child support that a non-custodial parent should pay is determined by statute. One child is 20%, two children: 25%; 3 children: 32%; four children: 40%; 5 children: 45% and 6 or more children 50%. Most of the time child support is paid by deducting the amount from the supporting parent’s salary at the time he or she is paid.

Keep in mind that if the supporting parent has never lived in Illinois, the state of Illinois cannot enforce any ruling to that parent if only determined in Illinois.

The first step to enforcing a child support order is to prepare all necessary forms to start the process. The next is to file your petition, affidavit, and data sheet. Step three is to notify the other party of the Order, and step four is to wait and see if the supporting parent is served. The final steps are to go to the hearing, and to file the Certificate of Mailing with your County Clerk.

Even when you know the steps, obtaining a court order for child support and then enforcing it isn’t an easy task. Don’t go through it alone. Contact a Kane County divorce attorney today.

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Kalamazoo Lab Debuts Prenatal Paternity Test

December 24th, 2012 at 5:26 am

With the increasing number of children born outside of marriage in the United States today, paternity testing has become a relatively common part of paternity proceedings. However, DNA testing typically occurs only after a child is born, leaving potential fathers to question their paternity throughout nine long months of pregnancy. Similarly, legal determinations involving child support are delayed until paternity can be established after a child’s birth.

In a recent Michigan Live article, ARCLabs Kalamazoo announced that it performed the first noninvasive prenatal DNA test in the area on November 28, 2012. Using new technology, the lab performed a procedure that utilizes fragments of a fetus’s DNA, which are found in a pregnant woman’s blood as early as the first trimester of pregnancy, along with a cheek swab from the prospective father.

Prior to this type of testing, the only type of prenatal paternity testing was amniocentesis, which carries a risk of miscarriage; due to these risks, amniocentesis is used primarily as a prenatal tool to diagnose chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome.

The test does come with a much higher price tag, however. Whereas ARCPoint charges $350 for a regular postnatal DNA test, the new test costs three times as much, running from $1,100 to $1,300.

Proponents of the new technology state that the finding out paternity test results early on in a pregnancy can be beneficial to all parties involved. The prospective father and paternal grandparents can have peace of mind, and may be more likely to emotionally and financially support the woman during her pregnancy.

If you are facing the host of legal issues that come along with a child who is born outside of marriage, it is best to get the legal assistance of a knowledgeable family law attorney as early as possible in the paternity establishment process. Call our office today to speak with a skilled and experienced Kane County paternity lawyer who can help explain your options and guide you down the path that is best for your situation.