A child conceived during a marriage is presumed to be the biological child of both parents. For unmarried parents, paternity is established either under the Paternity Act or the Acknowledgement of Parentage Act. The Paternity Act allows both the mother or the alleged father to bring an action to establish paternity of a child. In some circumstances, such as when the child is receiving state aid, the Department of Health and Human Services may bring an action to establish paternity and a child support obligation may be issued. Once a determination of paternity has been established, the court will proceed with entering an order for child support. If there is no dispute regarding custody, that order will also include provisions for custody and parenting time.
The Acknowledgement of Parentage Act allows unmarried parents to sign an Affidavit of Parentage, which identifies the legal father of the child. Importantly, the Affidavit of Parentage grants the mother initial custody of the child until otherwise determined by the court or agreed upon by the parties in writing and acknowledged by the court. This can be particularly frustrating for unmarried fathers who are unaware that an Affidavit of Parentage fails to provide any custodial rights to their child.
We recognize that disputes regarding paternity can be highly sensitive and can significantly impact the lives of all parties involved. Our accomplished family law attorneys have extensive experience in resolving paternity disputes through negotiation, mediation, or, if necessary, litigation. We will fiercely advocate for your rights and work toward a resolution that serves the best interests of your child.
Whether you are a biological father seeking custody or visitation rights, or a mother seeking the most appropriate custody and parenting time schedule for your child and child support from the alleged father, our attorneys will provide comprehensive legal guidance during this difficult time. We will help you understand your rights with compassion and understanding, and explain your legal obligations under the applicable laws, advocating for your interests, and will strive for a resolution that prioritizes the best interests of your child, and your deserved peace.