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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

9405 Bormet Drive, Suite 7, Mokena, IL 60448

Mokena | 815-727-6144

DuPage County | 630-852-9700   Oak Park | 708-848-3159

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What Rights Do Fathers Have in Illinois Family Law Cases?

Posted on in Family Law

Will County fathers’ rights attorney parenting time paternity

If you are the father of a child, you may worry about what your parental rights are under Illinois law. Unmarried or divorcing fathers are often especially concerned about their parental rights and responsibilities. Although mothers often have the majority of parental responsibility and parenting time, fathers have just as many rights under Illinois law as mothers do. The law treats mothers and fathers equally, but fathers may have unique family law concerns related to paternity and other matters.

The Right to Establish Paternity

When a woman gives birth to a child, she automatically becomes the child’s legal mother. The same is not always true for a child’s father. Unmarried fathers may need to formally establish paternity in order to become their baby’s legal parent. There are three ways to establish paternity in Illinois. First, both parents may sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) at the hospital where the baby was born or at a later date. Paternity can also be established through a court order or through a hearing with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Establishing paternity is the first step in gaining the parental rights afforded to fathers under the law. However, you will still need to file a separate petition for the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time with the court after establishing paternity. You will also be subject to Illinois law regarding child support.

The Right to Enjoy Time With One’s Children

In Illinois, child custody and visitation are called the “allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that all parents have a right to enjoy “reasonable” parenting time unless there is a good reason for the parent to be denied access to his or her child. If the court holds a hearing and finds that granting parenting time “would seriously endanger the child's mental, moral, or physical health or significantly impair the child's emotional development,” the parent may not be allowed to spend time with his or her child unsupervised. Unless you have a history of domestic violence or previous convictions for violent crime, or if there is another reason for the court to restrict your parenting time, you have a legal right to spend time with your child.

Contact a Mokena Father’s Rights Lawyer

The experienced Frankfort family law attorneys at Wakenight & Associates, P.C. know the unique struggles that fathers experience during family law disputes. Contact us to get help establishing paternity, petitioning the court for parenting time, modifying child support, and more. Call our office at 815-458-5660 to schedule a free consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&SeqStart=8300000&SeqEnd=10000000

https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/parents/Pages/Paternity.aspx

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