Share Your Experience

five star review
Lombard Office
Chicago South Loop

Lombard family law attorneyToday, more and more couples are choosing to forgo marriage for a variety of reasons. Some are political, others economic, and still others simply out of lack of interest in legally validating the relationship. However, there are some areas of the law in which not being married can actually be a hardship, and the paternity of your children is among the most pressing. If you are not married to your child’s mother, it is imperative that you be aware of your rights going forward, especially if you want to be involved in your child’s life.

Establishing Paternity in Illinois

Illinois law defines paternity and the father-child relationship fairly extensively, and it is important to understand how to proceed. The Illinois Parentage Act lays out a list of methods by which a man’s paternity may be acknowledged and legally verified. Generally, paternity is established in Illinois when:


Posted on in Paternity

Lombard family law attorneyFor many fathers, it can be extremely difficult to maintain an active role in the lives of their children. This is especially true for a father who has gone through a divorce or breakup with his child’s mother. In many cases, it feels like the proverbial deck is stacked against a man when it comes to child custody decisions—now known as the allocation of parental responsibilities under Illinois law. Unfortunately, many such issues are based on the persistent public perception that men are less qualified to serve as primary—or even equal—caregivers for their children.

Anecdotal Examples

Recently, a discussion on the social media site Reddit addressed the various ways that men have experienced sexism in their lives. Many responses dealt with female-dominated work environments, physical abuse at the hands of female partners, and distrust from authorities when a man has been the victim of domestic violence. However, there was a substantial number of responses that described the experiences of men when they are seen in public with children—including their own.


Lombard family law attorneysIn today’s technologically advanced society, blood and DNA testing have reached new heights and are fairly commonplace. Not only can at-home kits now give people the opportunity to learn about their heritage and health profile, the accuracy of such tests has been recognized in legal proceedings to establish certain connections for some time. One of the most typical areas in which these types of tests are used is to establish paternity between a child and a parent. The reason behind it is to formally recognize legal rights and responsibilities in the eyes of the law.

Who Are the Players?

Matters of paternity usually involve the mother of a child and an alleged father or fathers to whom she is not married. Other family members such as grandparents can also be involved in a paternity proceeding. In turn, establishing paternity then center around matters of child support, child custody (parental responsibilities) or even adoption.


presumption of parentage, Illinois family law attorneysAs you are probably aware, a parent’s rights regarding his or her child are dependent upon the establishment of the parent-child relationship under the law. In the vast majority of situations, the process is fairly easy. A child born to a married couple is presumed to be the child of both spouses, while unmarried parents can voluntarily acknowledge their parentage by signing a simple form. Sometimes, however, a person presumed by law to be the child’s parent is not really the parent, and when this happens, the individual should be prepared to take action.

A Realistic Example

Assume that you and your wife are in the beginning stages of the divorce process. Your marriage has been effectively over for months, so you moved out and started gathering the information necessary to file for divorce. Each of you begins casually pursuing new romantic interests, which—although not the best idea—is fairly common in divorce situations. Before your divorce is finalized, your wife lets you know that she has gotten pregnant. Assuming that you are not the biological father, now what?


paternity, Lombard family law attorneysWhen you are not married to the mother of your child, it may be very difficult for you to exercise your rights as a father. In fact, if you have not established legal paternity, you may not even have any such rights under the law. Your relationship with your child is extremely important, but may be non-existent unless you take action, which begins with establishing paternity.

How Paternity May Be Established

Thanks to the newly enacted Illinois Parentage Act of 2015, you are presumed to be the father of a child if you are or were married to the child’s mother when the child was born or got married after the birth and you are listed as the father on the birth certificate. If the child was born within 300 days of your divorce, you would also be the presumed father. Assuming the presumption of your parentage is not rebutted, you would be considered your child’s legal father, with all of the accompanying rights and responsibilities.

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Back to Top