Paternity Lawyer Lake Forest, IL
If you are looking into establishing paternity while also considering child custody or support, you need the help of a paternity lawyer Lake Forest, Illinois recommends. Part of the divorce or separation process, when a child is involved, is determining who pays child support and how much. But even before the court can order child support, paternity needs to be established. Establishing paternity is not always an easy task.
Until paternity is established by the courts, the father of a child is not generally granted any legal responsibilities or rights, including child support responsibilities and custody/visitation rights. A paternity case can be requested by either parent or the court can choose to proceed with the case independent of a parent specifically requesting action. An experienced Lake Forest, IL paternity lawyer can answer questions you may have concerning proving paternity, child support, and/or child custody matters.
Unmarried Parents and Presumed Father
If the parents are not married when a child is born, determining the legal father can be accomplished in a few ways. In order to establish paternity, both parents can agree on the paternity or the biological father can create an affidavit stating he is the father. In either case, child support is required of an admitted father. It is important to double check that this is the process established by your state of residence. An experienced Lake Forest, IL paternity lawyer can help you to ensure that you have followed all proper protocol for establishing paternity if you and your child’s other parent are unmarried.
If the child was conceived or born when the couple was married, most states will presume that the husband is the child’s biological father. However, in some states, if the couple was not together at the time of conception or birth, the presumption of paternity may be invalidated.
If the man wishes to repute the paternity he would generally file a legal request to do so with the court. It is important that if the man wishes to do this, he must contact Lake Forest, IL paternity lawyer as soon as possible. If this is not done in a timely manner, the court may rule that a father must pay child support even if a child is not biologically his.
A man may be presumed to be the father if the following situations are true:
- After the child was born the couple was legally married and the husband agreed to put his name on the child’s birth certificate or agreed to financially support the child
- The man tried to marry the mother and during that time period the child was conceived or born
- The child was welcomed into the man’s home and the man regarded the child as his own.
If the court believes that an unwed man is the biological father of a child, he is said to be the alleged father. In presumed paternity, it is the responsibility of the father to prove the allegation is false. The court must offer an alleged father the right to take a DNA or other paternity tests prior to proceeding to any child support case. An experienced Lake Forest, IL paternity lawyer can help you, if you find yourself affected by similar circumstances.
Never ignore any paternity petitions from the court. If you do not respond to the petition, the court could issue a default judgment against you. This could result in the judge declaring you as the biological father even without doing a paternity test. Bottom line, if you ignore the court, you could pay child support to a child that is not biologically yours.
How do I modify child support orders if I am not the father?
Family life rarely stays relatively predictable for long. Kids get sick, the work and/or educational needs of family members change, parents face financial challenges, and on and on. Thankfully, the law recognizes that families evolve and the needs of children evolve over time. As a result, family law courts provide mechanisms by which parents may mutually agree on modifications to their existing child custody orders and by which parents may formally request such modifications even if a child’s other parent does not agree to the change. One of these situations is when one of the people responsible for the child takes a paternity test and discovers they are not a parent.
These are the two primary ways that parents modify existing child custody orders. They either work with their attorneys and each other in order to formalize agreed-upon modifications or they work with attorneys to request that the court rule upon a requested change in their favor. This can be done with the help of a Lake Forest, IL paternity lawyer. These potential paths toward child support modification are relevant for both parents who are required by law to pay child support and parents who receive child support payments.
In general, courts are usually content to approve modifications that have been agreed upon by both parents, provided that the requested changes do not significantly interfere with a child’s best interests. A modification situation tends to become a bit more difficult to navigate when one parent is seeking a change that the other parent does not agree with, especially if the alleged father is now seeking not to pay future child support payments because new information has come to light.
Family law judges only tend to rule in favor of one-sided modification requests if certain criteria are met. These criteria often vary from state to state, so it is important to speak with an experienced paternity lawyer in Lake Forest, IL about your unique circumstances if you are interested in pursuing a one-sided modification request. But in general, either a child’s needs or a parent’s financial situation must have changed in a truly significant way before a judge will approve a support modification request that has not been agreed upon by both parents. De-establishing paternity is one of these significant changes.
Child Support Assistance Is Available
If you are interested in modifying your existing child support orders because you have found new information after taking a paternity test, please consider scheduling a consultation with a paternity lawyer Lake Forest, IL residents trust. Every family’s situation is different, so it is generally a good idea to speak with an attorney before deciding that a specific approach to modification best fits your situation. In addition to advising you about your legal options, an attorney will be able to explain how unique state laws may impact your situation. Once your choices have been informed by an attorney’s guidance, you will be able to move forward in your decision-making process more confidently.
Contact an Attorney
If you have questions concerning paternity issues and child support, please consider contacting an experienced Lake Forest, Illinois paternity lawyer. The legal team at Hurst, Robin & Kay, LLC would be happy to answer your questions and advise you as to your legal options at this time. Please consider scheduling a confidential, risk-free consultation today. Our Lake Forest paternity lawyer looks forward to speaking with you.