Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
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Family law restricts an unmarried father's legal rights

When an unmarried Illinois man is the biological father of a child, he will not automatically be regarded as the father. Paternity will have to be established. Family law allows fathers to acknowledge paternity by signing specific forms after the child's birth. Without acknowledging paternity, the father will not have any rights, but acknowledgment will only guarantee him some rights.

After signing an AOP, particular paternal rights will be established, one of which is the right -- and duty -- to pay child support. If the father does not acknowledge paternity, the birth mother could take legal steps to establish paternity in an effort to get a court to order child support payments. Another guaranteed right for a father who signed the AOP is the right to have his last name recorded for the child on the birth certificate. Furthermore, the mother may not proceed with any adoption proceedings of the child without consulting with the father.

Unfortunately, child custody, parenting time and visitation are all to be established separately. None of these privileges are guaranteed by signing an acknowledgment of paternity form. A father will have to petition the court if he wants to have a child custody order issued. Both parents could agree on visitation and parenting plans and present it for the approval of the court, or they can leave it for a judge to decide when the father can see the child.

Unmarried fathers in Illinois might have questions about their legal rights and the requirements for acknowledgment of paternity. An experienced family law attorney can provide answers and assist with ensuing legal proceedings. The lawyer can ensure that the best interests of the child are protected.

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Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
104 South Charles Street
Belleville, IL 62220

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