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If You’re A Man, You Need A Fathers’ Rights Lawyer

All parents in Illinois have the right to see and provide for their children, including if you are a father with children outside of marriage. Illinois courts may have favored mothers regarding child custody and visitation in years past, but times have changed.

Family courts in Illinois must make rulings based on the child’s best interests. For the most part, courts will attempt to keep both the mother and father involved in the child’s life unless one of the parents poses a danger.

The court system is supposed to extend equal parental rights to fathers, but you should still have an experienced family law attorney who is well-versed in fathers’ rights. If you have questions about your legal rights as a dad, our Illinois fathers’ rights lawyers can assist you.

What Rights Do Fathers Have?

Fathers have the right to see their children, even if they no longer have a relationship with the mother. Keller Legal Services specializes in assisting fathers to obtain visitation orders so they can enjoy a relationship with their children. We also can assist you if your father’s rights were violated.

Unfortunately, it is still somewhat common for the mother to still receive preferential treatment in child custody decisions after divorce. Having qualified legal representation to safeguard your father’s rights is vital. Remember, studies show that a child’s quality of relationship with their father can be crucial to their growth. Our fathers’ rights attorneys at Keller Legal Services can shepherd you through the Illinois legal system to ensure your rights are respected.

Establishing Paternity

According to Illinois law, paternity is the legal relationship between the father and his child. If you are married to the mother, your name will be listed on the birth certificate as the father, If not, you will be recognized as the father once your attorney helps you establish paternity. You and your child also are empowered with rights in Illinois that are assured with legal documentation proving paternity. Proving paternity is mostly straightforward when you are married, but the matter becomes complex if you are not.

Once paternity is established, your child enjoys greater financial security because you are proven as the legal father. Also, your child should be eligible for health and life insurance, and Social Security benefits. Your child also has the right to inherit assets from you.

Another benefit of proving paternity with a fathers’ rights lawyer is your child understands who their family is. The child understanding their parentage at a young age may not seem necessary. But understanding the father’s health history can help them take important actions to avoid potential medical problems later.

Ways To Prove Paternity In Illinois

You do not legally have to prove paternity if you and the child’s mother are married. As the husband, it is assumed that you are the child’s father, and no more paperwork is necessary. But if you are unmarried, there are several ways to prove your paternity. Assuming you and the mother have an amicable relationship, proving paternity may be as simple as signing a document. But other legal steps may be necessary if the mother does not want you to be recognized as the father.

First, you may sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). This document is for unmarried couples who want to prove paternity for their child. The form must be completed, signed, and filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. This document should only be signed if it is sure you are the child’s father.

Second, if you are uncertain if you are the child’s father, a DNA paternity test is an option. This test only requires a swab of the father’s, mother’s, and child’s cheek and is 99.9% accurate to prove paternity.

If you get along with the child’s mother, performing a DNA paternity test can be a relatively smooth process. Ideally, you and the mother will agree to do the DNA test. However, it could upset the mother because it may appear that you do not believe her. If the mother does not want to take a DNA paternity test, your Illinois fathers’ rights attorney is critical to the legal process.

Common Paternity Questions In Illinois

It is obvious that proving paternity can be a critical part of your and your child’s life. Below are some common questions about paternity. If you have additional questions, please speak to our fathers’ rights attorney promptly.

If I Am Unmarried, How Do I Prove I Am My Child’s Legal Father?

As noted on this page, your father’s rights attorney can help you prove paternity in several ways. In Illinois, if the mother and father acknowledge paternity, unmarried parents should be given forms at the hospital after the child is born. These documents allow you to establish who the child’s father is. Once the documents are signed, they can be given to the clerk of court and will be ratified by the circuit court judge.

Is It Better To Have A VAP Or Court Establish Paternity?

Having a court order proving you are the father can be advantageous. A VAP can add your name to the birth certificate, which is helpful. But until paternity is proven in court, you may have difficulty exercising your legal rights regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time. A VAP is typically most helpful to establish the father’s financial obligations as the father and may be used for obtaining child support. This is why obtaining a court order that proves paternity is usually best for an unmarried father.

Can Paternity Be Vacated In Illinois?

Yes, but this must be done in a court of law with a court order, which is usually challenging. The family court always considers the child’s best interests first, so it will not allow a father to vacate their rights to avoid financial responsibility.

Speak To Our Illinois Father’s Rights Lawyer Today

A fathers’ rights attorney is vital to safeguard your rights as a father in a divorce. Many fathers are unaware of their legal rights pertaining to child custody and visitation. If you have questions about your rights as a father, contact our Illinois fathers’ rights lawyers at Keller Legal Services at (630) 505-1515.