Statistics show that nearly 4 out of 10 children in the United States are born to unmarried parents today. When parents of children born outside of marriage split up, they find themselves facing the same issues related to parental responsibilities, allocation of parenting time, child support, and other child-related issues that divorcing parents must confront. In many cases, they face bigger challenges, because the father's rights and obligations have not been legally defined yet.
When parents are married at the time a child is born, the law presumes the existence of a “parent-child relationship,” meaning that the husband is legally presumed to be the father of the child. Thus, he automatically has all of the legal rights and legal responsibilities of a parent. In contrast, an unmarried father of a child has no legal rights and no legal responsibilities until paternity has been established. Simply put, he is legally a stranger to the child and has no rights to be involved in making decisions or spending time with his child until a court grants him those rights.
Historically, parentage cases typically arose when a father sought an allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time with his children, or when mother sought child support from the father of her children. However, many cases today involve a total reversal of that stereotype. Whether you are seeking to establish the existence of a father-child relationship, an allocation of parental responsibilities, an allocation of parenting time, or child support, the experienced family law attorneys at Kollias & Giese, P.C. can guide you efficiently through the legal process. Call us today for a free initial consultation. Knowing that the facts of every case are different, we would welcome the opportunity to meet and discuss the best way to address your particular situation.
For example, in some cases, legal paternity has already been determined by consent of the parties without the need to file in parentage court, whether they know it or not. When a child is born in a hospital, parents often sign numerous papers, some of which, including a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, may legally establish paternity. In other cases, where there is no signed voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form, a parent will need a judge to decide the issue of paternity and adjudicate the man the child’s father. In cases where both parties agree, they can acknowledge paternity in court. In cases where they disagree, DNA testing may be required.
The family law attorneys at Kollias & Giese have extensive experience in parentage / paternity cases, both at the trial court level and in the Illinois Appellate Court. For example, in 2009, Daniel J. Kollias won a case on appeal where his client discovered he was not the biological father of his children 9 years after the divorce was finalized. If you are facing a legal dispute related to paternity in the Chicago area, please contact Kollias & Giese, P.C. Recognizing that paternity battles can be both emotionally and financially draining, we will advocate aggressively for your rights, keeping in mind that at the end of the day, it is your children's best interests that you have in mind.
For a free 30-minute initial consultation, please call (630) 407-1200, or complete the online intake form.