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Fatherhood Comes With Rights And Responsibilities

Traditionally, paternity actions allow fathers to become dads who assume their share of financial, legal, and moral responsibility for their children. Specifically, after a paternity action, a man can legally spend time with his children, stay abreast of school functions and other important life events, and offer input in important decision-making, such as what moral and religious training his children receive, where they live, what doctor they see, and how they are educated. Far more often these days, fathers are also able become the primary residential custodian of their children in paternity cases and our firm has secured custody of children for numerous fathers. It is also not uncommon for mothers, and even adult children, to file a paternity action for similar reasons.

The family law attorneys at Reich, Jumbeck, Stole & Reeb, LLP understand how important it is for qualified mothers and fathers to actively participate in their children’s lives, regardless of who lives where or the relationship between the parents. Our highly respected lawyers work hard to have a court enter orders that help your family find the financial and emotional stability it needs and deserves.

How Courts Establish Paternity

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services may enter an administrative paternity order or a man may sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity or birth certificate on his own, but in Illinois, these actions only establish a child support obligation. They do not confer full legal status or provide visitation rights. In fact, until a court order is entered, no visitation can occur unless by agreement of both parents. For parents who are looking to make both a financial and emotional investment in their children’s lives, a legal paternity action is the only option.

A VAP or a signature on a child’s birth certificate does create a presumption of paternity, as does a marriage between the mother and father. That presumption may be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence.

Disputing Claims Of Paternity

Biological disputes are often resolved through a DNA test. Genetic tests eliminate the need to pull witnesses into a he-said, she-said debate, are scientifically reliable, are almost entirely non-invasive, and are typically available at a reduced cost.

Legal disputes may arise when a man signs a VAP or a birth certificate, but questions later arise concerning paternity. Within 60 days of the date of the signature, either parent may sign a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity and have it witnessed. After the 60 days expire, the signature may only be challenged in court on the grounds of material mistake of fact, fraud, or duress.

Why You Should Start Your Case Today

Once legal paternity is established, an action for retroactive support may be brought by a parent or guardian at any time. Illinois law also allows a mother to recover reasonable prenatal and postnatal birth expenses from the father within two years after the child is born. A paternity action can help cement the bond between parents and children. For a consultation with attorneys who can help you build your family unit, contact Reich, Jumbeck, Stole & Reeb, LLP at 815-770-2669, or send us an email to get in touch.