wheaton paternity lawyerThe importance of both parents being involved in a child's life is increasingly acknowledged by Illinois courts. Our experienced family law attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group understand the seriousness of paternity cases and how legal issues can be managed through a difficult time to benefit the child involved in the paternity dispute. Depending on your situation, you have lots of things to consider. Here are three things you should know about paternity in Dupage County. 

Paternity Tests in Illinois

If either the mother or the father of a child files a paternity lawsuit, the court will often set up a DNA test for the parties to determine the child's parentage.

It is normally advised to get a DNA test done before determining parenting time, child support, and other matters if there is doubt regarding who the biological father is. This is because, even in circumstances when the alleged father later finds they are not the biological father, it is highly rare for an Illinois court to revoke a prior judgment agreeing to paternity.

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illinois paternity lawyerFathers 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. 

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Posted on in Paternity

Wheaton IL paternity lawyerWhen a child is born to parents who are not married or who have never been married to one another, this can pose a few problems. Under Illinois law, a man is only presumed to be the father of a child if he was married to the mother when the child was born, or if the couple had been married within 300 days before the child’s birth. If neither is true, then the parents must establish legal paternity for the child another way. Many times, before a court will issue an Order of Paternity, it will require that the mother, alleged father, and child submit to genetic testing to determine the true biological father of the child.

Genetic Testing Procedure in Illinois

A child gets half of his or her genes from the mother and the other half from the father. DNA testing works by comparing the genes of the child with the genes of both parents. The person conducting the genetic testing will be chosen by the court, but you are also permitted to conduct independent genetic testing if you so choose. The Illinois Paternity Act states that DNA samples can be from blood, bone, hair, or other bodily fluids, though the most common way to gather DNA samples is from a simple swab of the cheek.

Genetic testing is very accurate. If the man tested is not the biological father, it will be known with almost absolute certainty. On the other hand, if the test results show that the man is 1,000 times more likely to be the child’s father than an unrelated man chosen at random, the probability of paternity is at least 99.9 percent, and the man will be presumed to be the biological father under Illinois law.

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Wheaton, IL family law attorney for paternity and child custodyIf you have a child while you are unmarried, establishing legal paternity provides important benefits to the child, and it can also help both mothers and fathers protect their parental rights. However, it is important to understand exactly what legal paternity entails to determine whether further legal action may be necessary, especially in cases in which you wish to confirm or deny the right to custody and parenting time.

What Benefits Does Legal Paternity Provide in Illinois?

For a child, establishing legal paternity ensures access to financial support from both parents in order to provide for regular needs, including shelter, food, clothing, healthcare, and education. The child can also benefit from the father’s health insurance, life insurance, government benefits including Social Security, an inheritance in the event of his death, as well as information from the father’s medical history that may make better medical care possible for the child.

For the parents, establishing legal paternity usually means that the father will be obligated to make regular child support payments to the mother. The father will also likely have the right to consent to or contest possible future decisions regarding the child’s adoption. The father also has the right to petition for allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, but this is not automatically guaranteed.

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DuPage County paternity attorney DNA testingYou might think being able to use science to determine paternity with absolute certainty through DNA testing would make family law cases much easier, especially when it comes to defining child custodychild support, and parenting time. However, the truth is that it can actually complicate things even more than intended. Here is how introducing DNA testing into the legal process has changed paternity, fatherhood, and father's rights:

Why Paternity Is So Complex, Especially Now With DNA Testing

Paternity has always been a complex issue, but before DNA testing, according to the law, it was relatively simple: if you were married, and your wife had a baby, you were considered the father. However, as many people know—and even knew then—it is rarely that simple in actuality. Now that medical technology has caught up with the dilemmas surrounding paternity, DNA testing has provided the courts with an exact, indisputable science to determine the identity of a child’s father.

You might think this has made things easier, but it has actually caused great cognitive dissonance for many fathers. A father may spend years thinking a child was his and raising that child as his own, only to discover during the divorce process that he is not the child’s biological father. He would not want to disrespect and lose that beautiful relationship with his son or daughter just because he did not want to be responsible for child support payments. At the same time, he may feel a sense of resentment when paying support for a child that was not even his. What is a father to do?

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