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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:

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Michigan Live is reporting that Flint attorney Denise Ketchmark has filed a lawsuit against Genesee Circuit Judge Archie Hayman seeking more than $4 million in child support and other damages. Hayman, who is well known for his insistence on men being held to their responsibilities as fathers, allegedly carried on a secret twenty-year love affair and fathered two children out of wedlock with Ketchmark, all the while shirking his financial responsibilities for the children.

Hayman has responded to the lawsuit by seeking to have the case file sealed from public view, and requesting an order for DNA testing in order to prove his parentage of the children, despite the fact that he previously signed affidavits of parentage for both children and provided medical insurance for them. Ketchmark is opposing these motions, stating that the public has a right to know if Hayman has committed insurance fraud by obtaining insurance for children who he now claims are not his biological children, and that Hayman waived his right to genetic testing when he signed affidavits of parentage.

While this case is noteworthy of media coverage for its focus on public figures in one legal community who might not normally be involved in paternity proceedings, it raises issues that are not so different than any other paternity case. While rules regarding voluntary paternity affidavits or acknowledgements vary from one state to the next, Illinois law provides that paternity is legally established 60 days following the date that a father signs an Illinois Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. Once paternity is established in this manner, it becomes very difficult to seek genetic testing or otherwise legally disprove paternity. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether Judge Hayman will be able to obtain DNA testing under Michigan law.

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