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DuPage County Paternity Lawyer

Getting pregnant and having a child does not always go as planned. Families come in many different forms, especially those created outside of marriage. Being married and having children do not always go hand in hand, but it often makes paternity much easier to establish. Here we will discuss Illinois parentage laws and proving paternity.

Presumed Parentage

Like many other states, Illinois has a presumed parentage law. The term presumed parent means an individual who is recognized as the parent of a child until that status is rebutted or confirmed in a judicial or administrative proceeding. The presumed parentage law makes it much easier for married couples to legally name a child as their own. This law was recently updated to apply to both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. 

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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Posted on in Adoption

stepparent adoption, Illinois law, Arlington Heights Family LawyerIn today’s world, blended families are becoming increasingly common. For some, it may be the result of a remarriage, while others are waiting longer to get married for the first time. Whatever the case, a marriage involving children from previous relationships can be both extremely challenging and very rewarding. What happens, however, when your new spouse expresses interest in pursuing the adoption of your child?

Why Adoption?

When you chose to marry your new spouse, you probably gave a great deal of thought to his suitability as a stepparent. Like most parents, you probably consider your child’s happiness and best interests in virtually every decision you make. Hopefully, the transition to a new parental situation has been a positive one for your child and his or her relationship with your spouse is becoming stronger every day. A stepparent bond does not require adoption to be effective; it is based on human interaction, trust, and mutual love.

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Posted on in Paternity

denial of paternity, paternity law, Illinois family law attorneyUnlike decades ago, when most children were born into the "traditional" family – where the biological mother and father were married – in today’s society, there are a variety of different familial scenarios into which a child may be born.  As such, there is great deal of information available when it comes to legally establishing paternity for a child, both from a mother’s point of view and from a father’s point of view. One topic that is not commonly discussed is how a may legally deny paternity.

The law in Illinois regarding paternity is an interesting one, as it must account for a number of potential situations. If a woman is not married to the child’s father when she conceives or gives birth, then there are certain steps the parents must take in order to legally establish paternity of the child. Under the law, there are three acceptable ways to establish paternity:

  • Both parents must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) document in order for the father’s name to be placed on the child’s birth certificate. By signing a VAP, the father is not only acknowledging paternity, but also acknowledging that he understands that he could be held legally responsible for child support, medical insurance, and medical expenses for the child;
  • If the father has not signed a VAP, the State of Illinois& Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Child Support Services can enter an Administrative Paternity Order; or
  • An Order of Paternity can also be entered into by a judge.

If a woman is married at the time she conceives or gives birth to a child, then the state says her husband is the legal father of that child.  The state makes this assumption whether or not the husband actually is the biological father of the child. That means unless there is some legal action which removes the husband as the child’s legal father, the state will hold him responsible for child support, medical insurance, and medical expenses. The child would also be legally entitled to a portion of the husband’s estate should he pass away.

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Michael Jordan is known in many circles as the greatest basketball player ever. However, according to the Chicago Tribune, he may have a new title as the father of a 16 year old boy.

Pamela Smith recently filed a paternity suit against the basketball great claiming that he is the father of her now 16 year old child. She is also seeking child support although, if he is found to be the father, he would only have to pay until the child turns 18. Jordan is the majority owner of his own basketball team and is still earning millions per year in endorsement deals, so the amount he owes if he is the father could be a huge one.

Illinois divorce lawyer (Theresa)

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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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