Can I Get Custody of My Child if I Establish Paternity in Illinois?
Fathers used to get the short end of the stick when it came to child custody disputes. Often held responsible for paying child support without any real options for getting custody of a child, fathers were left paying for a relationship they frequently did not get to participate in fully. Both fathers and children suffered because of this in the past, but with recent changes in Illinois family law, you do not have to suffer the same fate when it comes to your relationship with your child.
Illinois courts now recognize the importance of both parents playing a significant role in a child’s life. To that end, the law has changed in such a way that allows fathers to get custody of a child (known as “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” in Illinois) - but they must first prove they are, in fact, the child’s father. To learn more, read on and then contact an Illinois paternity and child custody attorney.
How Can I Establish Paternity?
If you and the child’s mother agree that you are the father, you can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity at the hospital when the child is born. If you do not agree, or if the child’s mother is not cooperative, you may need to request a court order stating that the child must undergo genetic testing to determine whether you are the father. If your genes match the child’s genes, a court will issue a paternity order listing you as the father.
How Can I Get Custody After Establishing Paternity?
Although it may seem unfair, a father who is not married to the mother of his child will need to petition a court to get parenting time and parental responsibilities for his child. This means you will need to prove that being involved in your life would benefit the child. You can do this by consistently demonstrating your interest in the child and your willingness to be a committed, responsible father.
This is typically easier to do when both parents get along and can create a shared parenting agreement. An attorney can help you with this process, as can alternative methods like mediation that allow both parents to discuss their priorities and create a plan that benefits the child while respecting each parent’s schedule.
Contact a DuPage County Paternity Lawyer
Establishing paternity is a crucial step in protecting your precious relationship with your child. If you recently became a father or suspect you may be the father of a child, contact the experienced Wheaton, IL paternity lawyers with Andrew Cores Family Law Group today. We offer free consultations so you can discuss your case and explore your options. Take action today and call us at 630-871-1002 to get started.