The end of any relationship is a difficult time. In cases where the couple wasn't married, that process can be simpler than in cases where parents get divorced.
Unfortunately, if you didn't get married and had children together, that can make the separation more complicated. Both parents may want full or partial custody, or one parent may want visitation.
To ensure everything works out in a legal and appropriate manner, you need to establish paternity of your child as early as possible. Ideally, you went through the process of establishing paternity when your children were born.
If you are separating and you haven't determined paternity of the children from your relationship, complications are common when trying to legally arrange for both visitation and child support.
Thankfully, the help of an experienced Illinois family law attorney can make a difference. Working with an attorney can make the process of establishing paternity simpler and can help you avoid certain common pitfalls during the process.
How do you establish paternity?
A married woman who has a child has the easiest time establishing paternity. If married at the time of conception or birth, the law assumes her husband to be the father of the child, unless he takes steps to prove otherwise. Unmarried parents need to take different steps. The simplest way to handle paternity involves both parties agreeing to sign a state form called the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. This form must be witnessed and voluntarily signed by both parties.
In cases of a difficult separation, one or both parents may refuse to execute this form. In those situations, then either a judge of state Child Support Services can order a genetic paternity test.
These tests are then used to determine, with a small margin of error, who the biological father of a child is. Most times, in order for the state to collect child support or enforce visitation rights, paternity must be established.
If you need to establish paternity of your children in order to either visit them regularly or collect child support from their father, you need the help of an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process of legally establishing paternity. From there, you will need help with the process of both child support enforcement or getting visitation rights.
Protect your rights
Whether you need help establishing paternity of your children to obtain visitation or to initiate child support, the family law system is complex, and working with an experienced Illinois family law attorney is the best way to ensure that you achieve your desired outcome.
Don't wait until the state denies your request for visitation or child support. Get legal instruction today to protect your family and your rights during a non-marital separation.