• How is Parenting Time and Responsibility Determined for Unwed Fathers?

    November 12, 2019 | Blog Family Law
  • Parental Rights

    Do unmarried fathers have parental rights? Below, we take a look at the rights of unwed fathers in Maryville, Illinois, and how the parenting time and responsibility are determined. We look at how paternity is established, and the rights of a father determined after that under the family law. Let’s dive in.

    your parental rights maryville illinoisHow is paternity established in Illinois?

    If a child is born out of wedlock, and you are the biological father, the first step in knowing your parental rights is to establish paternity. Therefore, if paternity is not determined, you will have no rights whatsoever to see your child or even do anything a parent can do to their child. Paternity is established immediately after a child’s birth only if both you and the mother sign a form known as Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. It also can be determined if both of you agree.

    What happens if there is a dispute?

    In this case, the father is free to petition the court to establish paternity. A hearing is held where both parties present evidence in regard to the alleged dad’s paternity. Most often, establishing the DNA will solve the dispute once and for all. Once paternity has been determined, then the father can take the necessary steps to ensure his name is added in the birth records of the child even if the mother objects.

    Rights After Paternity

    Once paternity has been determined, the father must pay for child support. However, this does not give the father automatic parental rights or access to a minor. It only gives them the leeway to initiate proceedings in court to seek for parenting time and responsibility. During a paternity suit or another hearing, parental rights can be determined.

    Determining Responsibility and Parental Time

    It is all about responsibility and parenting time, and the aim is to reduce conflicts between both parents. Where parents are unable to reach an agreement, courts can come in and help resolve the dispute.

    If mediation is unsuccessful, a guardian ad litem is appointed to investigate and give recommendations. During the hearing, the court determines the parenting arrangement in the best interest of the child. The courts will treat both the mother and father equally. However, unwed fathers will find it tough in getting most of the responsibility and parenting time due to the primary caretaker assumption. It usually favors the mother since she resides with the child. Therefore, having a trusted family law attorney, like the ones at Action Law Center, is vital.

    The father must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it is in the best interest of the child to live together.