The Illinois Parentage Act provides a comprehensive statutory framework regarding the rights and responsibilities of unmarried parents and their children. It sets the mechanism for establishing the parent-child relationship as well as addressing issues of support, custody, and parenting time.
Child support is determined using the same standards that apply to divorcing couples under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Unless there is an appropriate reason for deviation, the level of support will be determined by utilizing statutory guidelines. Under appropriate circumstances, the support amounts may exceed the actual demonstrated needs of the child, since the goal is to provide the child with the same lifestyle that he or she would have enjoyed if the family remained intact.
Additionally, in actions brought within two years of a child’s birth, a court may order a father to pay the reasonable expenses incurred by the mother relating to her pregnancy and delivery of the child. The law also provides for an award of child support retroactive to the child’s birth after the court considers relevant factors. This may include the father’s prior knowledge of the child’s birth and the extent the mother previously sought his assistance in supporting the child.
In Illinois, custody and visitation rights for unmarried fathers are the same as awarded to married fathers. A man who believes he is the father of a child may bring a motion to have his paternity established by court order, securing the right to request custody of or visitation with the child. Custody is based on the best interest standard, and the allocation of parenting rights and time will be depend on numerous factors, including but not limited to: whether the parties can communicate and cooperate on matters regarding their child’s health, education and religious upbringing; the wishes of the parents; the wishes of the child where appropriate; the health of all individuals involved; the willingness of each parent to encourage a close relationship between the other parent and the child.
Our firm handles a large number of paternity matters. We have considerable experience in all child related issues such as allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time allocation, child support, financial contributions, college education contributions, interstate and international custody disputes, and domestic violence. There are many intricacies to Illinois law that factor into the process, and we have the background and command of the law that your case requires