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Wheaton family law attorneysWhether or not a child’s parents are married, the child often benefits from having both parents involved in his or her life. Many parents are also invested in securing and maintaining a relationship with their child. Unfortunately, for unmarried fathers, such a relationship is not necessarily guaranteed. However, there is a legal process that unmarried fathers can follow to secure the basic rights of parentage, along with an allocated share of parenting time and parental responsibilities in many cases.

Establishing Legal Paternity

Before an unmarried father can ask for parenting time or parental responsibilities, he will need to be recognized as the child’s legal parent. In Illinois, there is more than one way for a man to establish legal paternity. First, along with the child’s mother, he can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) and file it with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Provided that there are no objections or competing claims from other alleged fathers, this is usually the most simple method of securing parental rights.

If a VAP is not possible, perhaps because the mother is not in agreement or there is uncertainty regarding the child’s biological father, a man can petition the court for an adjudication of paternity. As part of this process, the man can submit to genetic testing and present other evidence and testimony to support his claim of fatherhood. If the results of the test show that the man is most likely the child’s father, the court can issue a judicial order of parentage, providing the father with basic rights and an obligation to contribute to child support.


Illinois paternity attorneysWhen a child is born to unwed parents, the mother typically receives automatic rights at birth. The same cannot be said for unwed fathers. Instead, they must establish paternity in order to gain legal rights to the child. Learn more about this process in the following sections, including what it entails and what parental benefits you may receive. 

Establishing Paternity in Illinois 

Even when unwed parents reside together and plan to marry, fathers must acknowledge their paternal bond with the child to gain legal rights. While this added step may seem unfair and a hassle, the goal is to ensure that the obligation for financial support is assigned to the right person. 

Biological fathers who pursue this legal action can provide their child with certain financial benefits that can improve the child’s overall quality of life, including the right to receive:


Illinois parenting time lawyersFathers offer something special to their children. They are more likely to engage in physical activity with their kids than moms, and they can help children understand societal roles. Unfortunately, dads continue to receive less parenting time than mothers when the family separates in a divorce. What is more, Illinois is one of the worst states for dads seeking shared or equal parenting time. What might this mean for your Illinois divorce case, and how can you increase the time you might receive with your children? The following information explains. 

Illinois Ranks as One of the Worst States for Shared Parenting

Recent data indicates that children do not suffer, but instead typically benefit greatly from equal time with both parents. In light of this information, many states have started to move toward more equal parenting time among divorcing parents, and 25 attempted to implement laws that would either encourage 50/50 shared parenting time or make it the default. Illinois has even attempted to increase the amount of parenting time that dads receive in divorce, but the state continues to lag behind many other states in the country. In fact, one survey found that Illinois children spend an average of only 23.1 percent of their time with their fathers. Thankfully, under new state laws that have been implemented over the last couple of years, fathers can fight for close to equal time with their kids. 


DuPage County fathers rights attorneysUnmarried fathers often assume that an agreement with the mother, and perhaps some financial assistance, will satisfy their desire to be a part of the child’s life. Sadly, this is rarely the case. Relationships break down, and issues along the way may jeopardize a father’s time and say-so in the child’s life. Thankfully, there is a way to protect all your fathers’ rights. Learn more in the following sections, including how an experienced attorney can help.

Legally Establishing a Father’s Rights

Although fathers can sign the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (“VAP”) to have their name placed on the birth certificate, it does not establish the father’s rights to spend time with the child, nor does it give them any decision-making power in the child’s life. Only a judge can provide these rights. As such, fathers are encouraged to seek legal rights over their child, even if their name is on the child’s birth certificate.


Wheaton parenting time lawyerDivorce can be difficult for all involved parties, but children are often the most susceptible to lifelong complications. For example, studies have shown that children of divorce may be more likely to experience certain health issues, behavioral issues, and mental illness in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Children may also experience maladjustment issues during and immediately after the divorce, such as bedwetting and separation anxiety.

Thankfully, other studies have shown that parents can mitigate the risk with 50-50 shared parenting. Now a father’s rights group is pushing for that arrangement to be the presumed arrangement in family courts. Learn what this might mean for your divorce case, should they be successful, and discover how an experienced attorney can help you now, regardless of whether their efforts change the law or not.

Fathers Remain at a Disadvantage in Divorce


fathers rightsThe day before Father’s Day is often referred to as “Fatherless Day” and commemorates fathers who are not able to see their children due to death or separation. It is understandable why several groups of single fathers chose that day to rally at the state capitol in Springfield and at a Lake County courthouse. The two rallies were organized by different groups, but the groups have the same goals: increasing fathers’ access to their children.

The rally in Lake County was organized by a group called Illinois for Parental Equality, which works to reform family court to give fathers more time with their children. A similar group called Illinois Fathers organized the Springfield rally. "It can be very hard to spend time away from your child. It's heart-wrenching,” said Illinois Fathers supporter Nick Hickman at the rally.

Are Courts Biased Against Fathers?


Posted on in Paternity

DuPage County parentage attorneys, establish paternity in IllinoisWhen a couple has a child and they are not married, it is important that the father of the child establishes paternity. Establishing paternity is different than creating a bond with a child—paternity creates an important legal relationship between a father and child.

When a father establishes paternity, he establishes the right to request visitation or child custody. Paternity also establishes a father's responsibilities such as child support or college contributions. Failing to establish paternity has grave legal consequences for a father. If you are deciding whether or not to establish paternity for a child, it is important to consider the implications under Illinois law.   

Who Can Establish Paternity?


establishing paternity in Illinois, DuPage County family law attorneys Paternity refers to the relationship between a child and his or her legal father. A father, mother, and child can all benefit from establishing paternity, which gives a legal father rights and responsibilities regarding a child. It is important to note that the legal father of a child does not need to be the biological father, and Illinois law provides for many different ways that a mother or potential father can establish paternity.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity 

There are several benefits to establishing paternity for both parents involved and the child. From a father’s perspective, he can create and nurture a relationship with his child. He can also pass on his family name, culture, and anything else that is important to him. The mother of a child also benefits from establishing paternity. She can apply for support from the father if they are not married and have another adult present to support the emotional development of the child.


In Illinois, the state adoption agency is required to notify fathers if their children are being placed for adoption. All putative fathers, or men who might be a child’s father but were not married to the child’s mother at the time of birth, are encouraged to register in the Putative Father Registry in order to have a say in a potential adoption of their child.

The Putative Father Registry is also designed to serve families who want to adopt, for social workers and other professionals working on an adoption case, and for any other party who has an interest in finding out whether a child is ‘legally free’ for adoption. Moreover, the Registry is ultimately there to help children be placed with adoptive parents.

Asserting Your Rights as a Father

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