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Posted on in Paternity

father, Wheaton family law attorneyIn this day and age, the marriage rate has dropped to a fraction of what it once was in our parents and grandparents’ day, but this does not mean that people are not in family relationships. Many couples have simply chosen not to marry legally, for a variety of different reasons, but they still share assets, and they still, at least in theory, share responsibility for any children they may have. Some parents, especially fathers, find themselves shut out of their children’s lives, but these fathers do have rights. It is up to them to try and obtain custody or visitation or to adjust support payments if they can prove the need.

The Right to Assert Paternity

In Illinois, when a child is born in a hospital or birthing center to unmarried parents, the parents will be given what is referred to as a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form. One of the most common and most costly errors that many unmarried fathers make is in thinking that once they execute a VAP, they have visitation or custody rights. This may be the case in other states, but in Illinois, no such rights exist until a court order is entered that establishes them directly.


paternity, Wheaton family law attorneysEstablishing paternity is often a prerequisite towards obtaining child support. Illinois has specific legal procedures for recognizing paternity over the objections of a reluctant father. But, what if paternity has already been determined by a court in another country?

There is a principle in law known as “comity” that covers such situations. Comity basically means an Illinois court will recognize a judgment entered by a foreign court under its own laws and applicable to its own citizens. This is not just a matter of respecting foreign courts; it also prevents parties from re-litigating matters in Illinois courts that have been already decided somewhere else.

Illinois Court Upholds Thai Paternity Judgment


Posted on in Child Custody

fathers, DuPage County family law attorneysIn the past - and, unfortunately, at times still today - the courts have traditionally favored mothers when it comes to deciding which parent should be granted primary custody, or whether fathers can share equally in both parenting time and the right to make important decisions about their children's lives.

Illinois has made strides in recent years towards recognizing that fathers play just as important a caretaking role as mothers do and deserve equal treatment when it comes to custody decisions. Our experienced parental responsibilities lawyers believe strongly that neither parent should - based solely on his or her gender - have a right to an automatic presumption of custody.

Rather, the court should consider the best interest of the child, the existing relationship between a child and each of his or her parents, the stability of a parent's home environment, and the type of support each parent provides the child, including financial, physical, emotional, and educational support, among other factors.


Posted on in Paternity

paternity, DuPage County family law attorneyPaternity is defined as the legal relationship between a father and his children, and the rights and responsibilities that come along with that relationship. Fathers who are or were married to the mother of their child do not typically need to establish paternity, since the legal presumption is that a mother's husband or ex-husband (within a biologically appropriate time-frame) is the father.

Unmarried fathers, however, must proactively establish their paternity - or the mother may seek to do so. Unless both parents agree on who is the child's father and are willing to submit a signed acknowledgment, it is likely you will need to establish paternity in court. If you are a parent seeking to have the paternity of your child established for legal reasons, an experienced paternity lawyer in Illinois can help. Our firm's paternity attorneys have experience representing both mothers and fathers in paternity cases.

Rights and Responsibilities of Legal Fatherhood


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