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Chicago Paternity Lawyers

Establishing Paternity Rights in Cook and DuPage Counties

Unmarried parents of minor children are entitled to many of the same rights as divorced parents with respect to the care and custody of their children. They can seek to obtain child custody, collect child support, and ask for visitation rights.  The court must first establish the identity of the child’s father before awarding a party any of these rights.

Determining Parentage in Illinois

In Illinois, paternity is established in three ways:

  • Presumption: A man is presumed to be the father of a child if he was married to the mother when the child was born or conceived.   If he later marries the mother and consents to being named on the birth certificate, or if he signs a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, the court also considers the man to be the father of the child.
  • Consent: A man who signs a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity at the child’s birth is considered the legal father of the child and is named on the birth certificate as the father; The father who challenges this must show that he signed under fraud, duress, or mistake if he wishes to be removed from the parenting responsibilities.
  • Court determination: A man is deemed to be the father of a child based on the results of DNA testing.

Establishing Paternity Guarantees the Rights of Both Parents

A mother most often brings a paternity suit to secure child support payments. If paternity is successfully established, the father can assert his rights to custody and visitation with the child. The mother cannot deprive him of having a relationship with the child based upon non-payment of child support. Even the child can bring a suit to establish paternity any time while the child is a minor.  The presumed father must undergo a DNA test to challenge a paternity claim.

Paternity lawyer Miriam Cooper represents mothers, fathers and children in paternity actions in Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Wheaton, Schaumburg, and Chicago.

If you were not married when your child was born, you will need to establish paternity before asking the court for child support, child custody, or visitation rights. The lawyers at the Law Office to Miriam Cooper & Associates assist you to establish paternity in Chicago and the surrounding areas, including Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Hoffman Estates, Arlington Heights and DuPage County. For a free office consultation to learn your rights, contact our paternity lawyers today at (847) 995-8800.