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Fathers’ Rights in Illinois: Can a Dad Get Child Support?

If a father has established paternity for a child, a father can receive child support. In the eyes of the law, a father has equal parental rights to that of the mother — including the right to seek primary parental responsibilities and, if appropriate, child support payments. Here, our Naperville and Bolingbrook fathers’ rights lawyers provide an overview of a father’s child support rights and explain how we can help to protect yours.

Equal Protection: Both Mothers and Fathers May Be Eligible to Receive Child Support

Many fathers approach our law firm with a relatively limited understanding of their legal rights. There is still a widely held perception that our state’s laws openly favor mothers. This is untrue. While some biases undoubtedly remain in the system, fathers have equal family law rights under the law as the mother.

Of course, this was not always the case in the United States. In fact, decades ago, many states around the country had family laws on the books that explicitly treated mothers and fathers differently. In a key 1979 Supreme Court decision (Orr v. Orr), the nation’s highest court struck down an Alabama state law, which prevented husbands from getting alimony after a divorce. In doing so, the court ruled these types of discriminatory laws violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States constitution.

Fathers Must Establish Paternity to Access Parental Rights/Responsibilities

While fathers have equal rights under the law, it is not necessarily easy to get child support. Before a man can assert any parental rights, he must establish paternity for a child. There are essentially four ways you can prove paternity in Illinois:

1. Marriage at the time of birth (assumed paternity);
2. Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP);
3. An administrative paternity order; and
4. A judicial paternity order.

Once paternity is confirmed, a father may seek custody/visitation rights — which are now officially known as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time in Illinois. However, paternity must always come first.

Child Support May Be Obtained Through an Agreement or Legal Order

If you have primary responsibility for a child, you can seek child support from the child’s other parent. How exactly you should go about doing this depends on the specific circumstances of your case.

In cases where the child’s mother is willing to cooperate, a child support agreement may be in reach. Otherwise, a father may need to get the Department of Healthcare and Family Services involved. Either way, our Illinois fathers’ rights lawyers can help you take action to protect your legal rights and financial interests.

Call Our Illinois Fathers’ Right Attorneys for Immediate Assistance

At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois fathers’ rights lawyers have the skills and experience to represent dads in the full range of child support cases. To arrange a no-fee, no-obligation initial legal consultation, please contact us right away. With office locations in Wheaton, Naperville, and Aurora, our law firm serves communities throughout the region, including Kane County, DuPage County, Will County, and Cook County.