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Does Establishing Paternity Mean the Father Will Have Custody Rights?

Posted on in Family Law

Will County family law attorneyLegal matters related to a child’s paternity rarely exist in a vacuum. Often, they are accompanied by questions regarding the extent to which the father will be involved in the child’s life. For example, will the relationship be limited solely to financial support, or will the child be spending significant time with the father? The answer varies from case to case, and regardless of the method you use to establish paternity, you should be prepared for the possibility of a court case addressing parenting time and parental responsibilities.

What Comes With the Establishment of Legal Paternity in Illinois?

In many cases, the primary purpose of establishing legal paternity is to ensure that the father is obligated to contribute to child support. This, of course, benefits the child, but it also helps the mother or whoever has custody of the child. Additionally, when a legal parent-child relationship has been established, the child is eligible for other financial benefits from the father, including inheritance, health insurance coverage, and benefits from life insurance, Social Security, and Veterans Affairs.

A child’s legal father also must be notified if the child is involved in an adoption proceeding, giving him the opportunity to consent or contest the adoption. However, the establishment of paternity does not, in and of itself, give the father rights or obligations regarding the exercise of parenting time and parental responsibilities. Rather, defining these arrangements requires additional action in family court.

Addressing Child Custody After Establishing Paternity

Determining how to allocate parenting time and decision-making between unmarried parents may be relatively straightforward or quite complicated, depending on the circumstances. If you and the other parent are committed to co-parenting cooperatively, perhaps after signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, you can work out an arrangement in which the two of you share parenting time and responsibilities, and file your parenting plan with the court to ensure that it addresses your child’s best interests. A situation in which the father has no interest in exercising parenting time may also be fairly uncomplicated, as in this case sole custody can remain with the mother, either through presumption or an explicit order.

However, certain circumstances can make for a more difficult court battle. Perhaps, as a mother, it is important to you to secure child support from the father, but you are concerned about your child’s well-being when spending time with him. In such a case, your attorney can help you petition for an arrangement that limits or restricts the father’s parenting time and responsibilities. Or, perhaps, as a father, you want a relationship with your child but find that the mother is attempting to secure full custody. In this case, your attorney can help you make the case that it is in your child’s best interest to have time with you on a regular basis.

Contact a Will County Family Law Attorney

Unmarried parents may face many challenges when it comes to determining paternity, child support obligations, and custody arrangements, but an experienced Joliet family lawyer can help. Contact The Foray Firm today at 312-702-1293 to speak with an attorney who can assist with your case.

 

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=3638&ChapterID=59

https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/FormsBrochures/Pages/hfs3282.aspx

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