According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 40.7% of all births during 2012 were born out of wedlock. A child born out of wedlock creates a situation where the paternity of the child could be called into question. It also raises the question of who has legal custody of a child born out of wedlock. For fathers who want to be an active part of their child’s life, the issue of paternity and legal custody can be a problem that may only be solved with court intervention if the mother is contesting paternity.
Legal Custody of Children Born Out of Wedlock
When a child is born out of wedlock in Illinois, the mother has legal custody. The father does not have any legal rights to visitation or custody. In order for the father to seek legal custody or visitation rights, he must first establish paternity of the child. Paternity is the biological relationship between the father and the child. Legal paternity gives the father the right to seek legal custody or visitation rights under Illinois family laws.
When a child is born, Illinois family laws provide three ways for the father to establish paternity. The first is by presumption. When a man is married to a woman either at the time of the conception of the child or at the birth of the child, the man is presumed to be the father of the child and there is no need for the man to take further action to establish paternity. Consent is the second way a man can establish paternity in Illinois. If the man is named as the child’s biological father on the birth certificate, the parties can sign a written statement confirming that the mother had the man’s permission to put his name on the birth certificate as the child’s biological father. This establishes legal paternity for the child.
The third and final way to establish paternity in Illinois is by judicial determination. If the mother will not consent to the child’s paternity, the man must file a paternity action requesting that the court establish paternity through genetic testing. In order to file a paternity action, the man should seek the assistance of an experienced Illinois paternity attorney.
Seeking Legal Custody or Visitation
After paternity has been established according to Illinois law, the father can then file an action to seek legal custody of or visitation rights with the child. If you are being denied visitation rights with your child due to paternity issues, contact our office to schedule a consultation. We can assist you with filing an action to establish paternity so that you can seek legal custody of or visitation rights with your child. You have the legal right to play an active role in your child’s life and your child deserves to have you in his or her life.
Contact Our Office for a Consultation with an Experienced Illinois Custody Attorney
The custody lawyers of Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols represent individuals who need help resolving paternity issues. We assist clients throughout McLean, Woodford, Tazewell, and Peoria counties by providing compassionate, competent legal services. Contact our office at 309-938-4838 to schedule your free consultation.
When you need the assistance of an experienced family law attorney in central Illinois, call Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols. We are dedicated to providing our clients with exceptional service and support throughout the paternity and custody process.