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Chicago Paternity Attorneys


Determining Paternity in Illinois

dad holding young sonWhen two parents are working out a parenting plan, determining custody and child support, the question of paternity may come up, especially during a particularly tumultuous divorce. Proving or disproving paternity can have a major impact on who gets allocation of parental responsibilities, who is expected to pay child support, and who is given parenting time. Sadly, both parents may have differing opinions and motivations, meaning that paternity can become an all-out battle.

Whichever side you are on, you will want to have every advantage possible. Working with a skilled family law attorney is key to making sure you get the appropriate amount of time with the child in question. If you are struggling with paternity, call Nottage and Ward, LLP, at (312) 332-2915. We are ready to help.

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The Importance of Child Paternity in Illinois

Illinois state law considers paternity to be the parental relationship established between a man and a child dependent on a number of various factors. Substantiating who the father of a child is can aid in determining visitation rights and custody issues as well as financial obligations such as child support. Distinguishing and enforcing paternity is not always that easy. However, identifying the biological father of a child through paternity will help an individual utilize his rights as the parent of that child. Moreover, in regards to the best interests of the child or children, establishing paternity also allows for the father to begin building that parental relationship.

Ultimately, determining paternity is not just beneficial financially for the child -- it can also play a key role in making sure that child becomes a well-adjusted adult. Leaving paternity in question can lead to emotional turmoil for the child, leave a father unable to legally interact with his child, and leave a mother unable to collect child support payments to keep her child healthy and safe.

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Retroactive Child Support

One reason for a parent to establish paternity is to force the other parent to pay child support. Raising a child is not just time-consuming; it is costly. Parents must invest in clothing, toys, healthcare, food, and living space for their child, so having a baby can cause a parent’s monthly costs to skyrocket. Child support exists to try and make sure that no one parent has to take on all costs of raising a child, as well as to make sure the child gets everything he or she needs.

Under Illinois law, the allocated parent can demand retroactive child support payments up until two years after the child has become independent. As in, if one parent did not pay child support because the paternity of the child was in question, then the court can demand that the missed child support payments be handed over to the allocated parent until the child in question is 20 years old. Of course, paternity must be established first, which can be done in several different ways.

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How to Establish Paternity

Under Illinois law, if the two parents are married when the child is born, then the husband is automatically considered the legal father and will have paternity rights. This does not require any proof of biological relation between the husband and the child. However, if the parents are not married when the child is born, then paternity must be legally established. Even if the parents marry the day after the child is born, the father must still prove paternity to the courts in order to have the rights of a father. There are a few ways that a father can do this.

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP): This means that both parents have signed and completed a VAP and submitted it to the court. Essentially, a VAP allows both parents to establish and acknowledge that the man is the father of the child. This is a fairly easy way to establish paternity, and can be completed while the mother is still in the hospital following the birth of the child.

Administrative Paternity Order: This is an order issued by the state’s Child Support Services. For a paternity order to be issued, one of the parents must contest paternity, whether it be a father trying to establish a biological link or a mother trying to get child support payments. Most often, a DNA test is used to establish whether the man and child are related. If the test proves that the man is the child’s father, then an in-office interview may be requested, or Child Support Services may declare the man the father by default.

Order of Paternity: An order of paternity and an administrative paternity order are, at their core, the same thing. The key difference is that an order of paternity is established by a judge within the state’s court system, rather than by a state service.

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Dependable and Qualified Counsel

The importance of determining paternity in Illinois is confirmed in instances where a man who is presumed to be the father is required to pay child support when, in reality, he is not the child’s biological father. Truthfully, there are countless variations of paternity disputes that present challenges for an individual or family to cope with, many of which evoke strong emotions that can make problems all the more difficult to resolve. Moreover, knowing and applying your rights in the face of fluctuating emotions can also present many obstacles. Even though DNA testing is usually used to establish paternity, a lot more goes into developing a strong paternity case.

There are a number of reasons that the substantiation of paternity is important, both for the benefit of the father as a parental figure, as well as for the wellbeing of the child in terms of child support, child custody, and visitation. The Chicago family law firm of Nottage and Ward, LLP has the experience and resources necessary to help a couple settle paternity issues rationally during an emotionally charged time.

With over 20 years of experience handling the most complex of family law cases in Illinois, Nottage and Ward, LLP, has the skill to efficiently and professionally handle matters of paternity, ensuring that the proper party is awarded parental rights. To learn more about how we can help you with your paternity matters, call (312) 332-2915.

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Client Reviews

5 Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for

Leslie has been the strongest representation I could ask for in a very complicated, emotional matter. She has continuously looked out for my best interest and the best interest of my son. She is always prompt in getting back to me and in keeping me well informed about my case.
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We are knowledgeable about financial issues. We are experienced in child custody problems and sensitive to the overall needs of the client.

We have the experience to negotiate complex financial issues. The brain trust to maneuver contentious divorce litigation. And the sensitivity and skill to resolve highly charged custody issues.

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Our practice is concentrated in Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, Kankakee and McHenry counties.

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10 N. Dearborn, 11th Floor, Chicago, IL 60602

Chicago Paternity Lawyer Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth herein are based upon the facts of that particular case and do not represent a promise or guarantee. Please contact a lawyer for a consultation on your particular divorce matter. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the state of Illinois.

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