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Fathers’ Rights: Know What You Are Entitled to As a Father

A father plays an important part in a child’s development. You should never be denied the opportunity to build a full relationship with your child. Illinois recognizes the importance of fathers. As a dad, you are entitled to parental rights. In fact, your parental rights are equal to that of the child’s mother.

However, this is only true if paternity has been established in the eyes of the law. In this article, our Naperville and Bolingbrook fathers’ rights attorney explains the key things you should know about the rights you are entitled to as a dad in Illinois. 

Fathers’ Rights: What to Know About Illinois Law

You Must Establish Paternity to Access Any Parental Rights 

First and foremost, we must emphasize you only have rights as a father if paternity has been established under state law. According to the Illinois Department of Health and Families Services, “paternity is a legal relationship between a father and his child.” For married dads, establishing paternity is simple. You are presumed to be the legal father of your wife’s children. No action is required. However, unmarried fathers must take proactive steps to establish legal paternity. In general, an unmarried father can establish parentage through a jointly submitted Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) or by seeking genetic testing and getting a paternity order. 

You Have the Right to Child Custody and Visitation

Once paternity has been established under Illinois law, fathers are entitled to seek custody and/or visitation. A mother is not automatically guaranteed primary custody under Illinois law. Quite the contrary; the law is technically gender neutral.

Illinois uses the best interests of the child standard. Custody/visitation matters are handled based on what is best for the child. Courts no longer use the terms “custody” or “visitation” in official proceedings. Instead, you will hear the terms “allocation of parenting time and “allocation of parental responsibilities.”

You Have the Right to Seek Child Support 

If a father is granted primary responsibility for a child, he is entitled to seek child support from the mother. Both parents have an obligation to contribute financially to their child’s well-being — not just fathers. Although 85 percent of child support in the United States is paid by men, there is nothing stopping you from seeking the financial contributions you need to provide for your kid(s). Illinois law clearly allows you to seek child support payments from the mother if the circumstances warrant it. 

Call Our Naperville and Bolingbrook, IL Fathers Rights Attorney for Immediate Assistance

At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois family lawyers have experience handling the full range of fathers’ rights cases. We are available when you need guidance and support the most. If you have any questions about what rights you are entitled to as a father, our legal team is here to help. Contact usnow to set up a free, confidential assessment of your case. We represent fathers in Naperville, Bolingbrook and throughout the surrounding communities in DuPage County and Will County.