Establishing the paternity of a child can have important emotional and legal consequences. Each year, a large percentage of children in Illinois are born to unmarried parents. Under these circumstances, state law requires that the paternity of a child be legally established in order for a mother or father to receive court-mandated child support or petition for child custody and visitation rights.
At Buffalo Grove Law Offices, we assist both women and men in a broad range of paternity matters, including filing paternity lawsuits and defending against paternity actions. Located in Arlington Heights, Illinois, we represent clients in Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates, Palatine, Buffalo Grove and throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.
Contact us to discuss your paternity case with a knowledgeable Arlington Heights paternity lawyer.
Angela Peters Co-Authored “ILLINOIS PARENTAGE ACT OF 2015: What is new; What is Borrowed“, with Co-Authors, Margaret Bennett, Esq. of Bennett Law Firm LLC, and David Saxe, Ed.D of Bennett Law Firm, LLC and NIU School of Law, for the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois.
Paternity: Considerations For Mothers Or Fathers Who File The Case
There are many benefits to establishing the paternity of a child, including:
- The right to seek child support payments
- The establishment of the child’s right as an heir to the mother’s or father’s estate
- The establishment of the child’s right to claim Social Security death benefits from the father or mother
- The right to establish a custody and/or visitation schedule to provide for stability in the child’s life
- The establishment of the child’s right to medical coverage under the father’s or mother’s health benefits
Paternity: Additional Considerations For Fathers
In Illinois, the fact that an unmarried father’s name appears on a child’s birth certificate does not mean that the father has legal parental rights to the child. Fathers must file a petition with the court to establish their paternity and their parental rights with regard to the child. These parental rights allow fathers to petition the court for visitation, joint custody and even sole custody of the child. An establishment of paternity also brings parental obligations, which usually include child support, post-high school education, medical expenses, and life insurance.
In one situation, a Father filed a Parentage Action to determine whether he had a father-child relationship shortly after he saw a picture of the child (then 5 years old) on mother’s social media website. The child resembled him, so he contacted the mother and asked if he could be the father. DNA tests confirmed that he was indeed the father. There is a presumption that the father is entitled to reasonable visitation unless the visitation would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health. The attorney who had been appointed to represent the child ( Guardian Ad Litem or GAL) was concerned that the child did not know that this man was her father, and that starting visitation would place the child at risk of harm academically, socially, and emotionally. The court did not believe that the GAL’s concerns were real concerns, The Court was able to take steps to reduce the risk of harm by gradually introducing the child to father under the guidance of an experienced professional, rather than deny visitation to father.
PATERNITY-STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
In regards to G.M., a Minor, 2012 IL App (2d) 110370 (March 12, 2012) Boone Co., reversed and remanded. The two year statute of limitations period of the Parentage Act does not apply to cut off the right of the petitioner to file a petition to declare the existence of the parent-child relationship. Instead, the 20 year statute of limitations period of Section (8(a)(1) applies. The Mother filed an action within two years after she discovered, by DNA results, and within two years of when the child first began to resemble the respondent. Although the prayer for relief also asked the court to declare the non-existence of the parent-child relationship regarding the first man, that did not convert the petition into a section 7(b) ‘nonpaternity’ action.
FATHER HELD TO AGREED ORDER TO BE BOUND BY TESTING AND HIS FAILURE TO TAKE GENETIC TESTING
The alleged father of the child did not sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (VAP), but he did sign an Agreed Order to be bound by the results of genetic testing. He failed to appear for testing, so that a default administrative paternity order was entered. A claim nonpaternity under Section 7(b-5) of the Parentage Act of 1984 should be narrowly construed, and can be brought only under marital presumptions, not where the presumption of paternity arises out of a VAP. The claim for nonpaternity must be filed within 2 years of knowledge of relevant facts, not knowledge of all facts. The default administrative order, and the dismissal of his paternity petition, are res judicata bar to his nonpaternity claim. In re Parentage of H.L.B., 2012 Il App (4th) 120437 (Sept 27, 2012) Edgar C.
FORMER BOYFRIEND HAD NO STANDING TO BRING CLAIM FOR CUSTODY
The former boyfriend did not have statutory standing to bring a claim for custody of a minor adopted from Slovakia by his former girlfriend. The parties had never married, and they had taken no steps for the adoption to be recognized in Illinois. The father had not adopted the child, who remained in the custody of the adoptive mother. Illinois does not recognize the common-law standing of a nonparent to bring a petition for custody of a minor. In re Parentage of Scarlett Z.D., 2012 Il App (2d) 120266 (Aug 30, 2012) DuPage Co.
BIOLOGICAL FATHER IS ENTITLED TO VISITATION EVEN THOUGH HE IS NOT THE LEGAL FATHER OF THE CHILD
The mother discovered that the biological father of her child was not her husband (legal father at the time), and then the biological father filed a petition for him to be named the child’s father and to be granted visitation. In re Parentage of J.W., 2012 Il App (4th) 120212. The trial court granted his petition for paternity but did not order any temporary visitation. A clinical psychologist and a guardian ad litem believed that it would not be in the child’s best interest for the biological father would have visitation with the child because of the little girl’s age and her attachment to her legal father. The appellate court overturned the trial court’s order and held that Section 607(a) of the IMDMA is the appropriate standard to be applied, which provides that there is a presumption that the biological father is entitled to reasonable visitation rights unless the visitation would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health. The appellate court noted that it was not going to follow the reasoning in Dept. of Public Aid ex rel. Gagnon-Dix v. Gagnon, 288 Ill.App.3d 424, 680 N.E.2d 509 (4th Dist., 1997), which followed a best interest standard. The court ordered that the biological father be granted a reasonable visitation schedule, but provided that the trial court did have discretion to put together a reasonable schedule considering a gradual, age-appropriate introduction of the parental relationship between the child and the biological father.
Please visit the Family Law Articles page of this website to read the article, “Sperm Donor Can Keep it in His Pocket.”
Hoffman Estates DNA Testing Lawyer
The first step in any paternity case is to arrange for a DNA test. Our attorney has extensive experience with the DNA paternity testing process, and we regularly work with reputable companies that use state-of-the-art technology to perform these tests. Our attorney was the force behind the drafting of the revised genetic testing portion of the Paternity Act of 1984, which was signed into law on January 1, 2011. Current genetic testing is now in line with the science of genetic testing which has moved much quicker than the law has been able to respond and keep up with it. We are caught up now. Our law firm assists clients in navigating the legal and technical aspects of paternity testing, including arranging DNA tests, analyzing the results and evaluating next steps in the paternity litigation process. Our attorney is also part of the force behind the drafting of the revised complete Paternity Act. It has not been fully revised until 2015, since it was drafted initially in 1979 and partially amended in 1984.
Contact Buffalo Grove Law Offices
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