All parents have rights when it comes to seeing and caring for their children. This is also the case for fathers who have children outside of marriage. In the past, Illinois family courts may have sided with mothers regarding child custody. But parental roles have evolved, and the courts make their decisions based on the child’s best interests. Generally, the courts try to keep both parents involved in the child’s life, unless there is a danger to doing so.
If you are a father, you may assume that spending time with your child is a natural right. However, your rights can only be enforced when you are legally recognized as the father. This is why protecting your parental rights with a paternity test is so important. This article details the advantages of getting a paternity test and related information. If you have questions, a father’s rights attorney in Naperville can assist you.
Illinois law states paternity is a legal relationship between the child and his father. Your name is listed on your child’s birth certificate when you establish paternity. Also, you and your child are empowered with specific legal rights that are not guaranteed without official documentation proving paternity. While proving your paternity is often easy when you are married, it may become more complex when you are unmarried.
Establishing paternity is vital for all parties, especially your child. Once you have established paternity, several rights of the child are established. First, the child has more financial security because you are documented as the father. The child also can receive life, health, and Social Security benefits. Plus, your child can receive an inheritance from you.
The child will also understand what his or her parentage is. This might seem insignificant when the child is young. However, knowing the medical history of the father can help the child to take action to avoid problematic medical conditions that are inherited.
Of course, the child also should simply know who his or her father is. Even if the child is not interested in having a relationship with the father, knowing his name can be personally beneficial later in life.
Establishing who the father also is essential for the parents. Legally recognizing how the father is connected to the child allows the two to build a father/child relationship. This can happen without establishing lawful paternity, but you will no longer need the mother’s permission to see the child. Having the legal recognition establishes your rights and ensures the child will receive the necessary financial support.
Once you are established as the child’s father, you will have several financial obligations to meet. First, if you do not have shared custody, you will probably need to pay child support every month. The family court will decide what this amount is based on several criteria, including how much time you spend with your child, how much you earn, and how much the mother earns.
Child support usually is until the child’s 18th birthday. You may also need to contribute to the child’s college expenses at that time. Illinois law requires divorced parents to cover tuition, room and board, books, and supplies.
A married couple does not need to take action to prove who is the father of their child. The husband is assumed to be the child’s father if the couple is married. No additional paperwork is needed. If you are not married, there are several methods for proving paternity. If you and the mother get along, establishing paternity may only require a signature. However, other steps may be required if the mother is against you being recognized as the child’s father.
The most well-known way to establish paternity in Illinois is by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). This document is only for unmarried parents who want to prove who the child’s biological father is. You must complete, sign, and file the document with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. However, you should only sign this document when you are sure to be the child’s father.
If the child’s biological father is recognized after signing the VAP, you may fill out a Recission of Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. The other option is to complete a Recission of Denial of Parentage. You must sign, witness, and file the recission within two months of the VAP’s effective date. After the two-month period has lapsed, you cannot file the recission document. Remember, when you sign a Rescission, you have given up all rights to the child.
If you think you may not be the child’s father or simply want scientific confirmation, you can have a DNA paternity test done. This genetic test is usually done with a swab inside the mother’s, father’s, and child’s cheek. This test is 99.9% accurate and ensures that your DNA matches the child.
Depending on how you get along with the mother and child, deciding to do a DNA paternity test can be smooth or rocky. In the best case, you and the mother agree to have the test done. However, asking for a DNA test to prove paternity can sometimes upset the mother. Therefore, you may want to avoid asking for a DNA test because it can look as if you do not believe the mother.
However, there are many good legal, financial, and personal reasons to confirm the child is yours. If the mother or the alleged father will not take a paternity test, the court can order it. If this is necessary, a Naperville fathers’ rights attorney is invaluable.
It is often important for a father to establish the paternity of their child. After all, you want to have your legal rights to visit and interact with your child and form a father/son bond. If you need to establish paternity, the attorneys at Keller Legal Services can help, so please contact our Naperville fathers’ rights attorneys today.