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Paternity Law

If your child is one of the one-third of all children born in America out of wedlock and you need to establish your parental rights, your case will be governed by the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015. 750 ILCS 46/101 - 46/977. We handle parentage or what is also referred to as paternity cases at the Keene Law Offices and have been doing so for over 30 years.

After the changes in the family law area, including parentage/paternity as well as divorces, we no longer have the words “custody” or “visitation” in the orders. They are now referred to as Allocation Judgments and Parenting Plans and people have parenting time. The issues are the same but the terminology has changed since 2016.

A critical issue in parentage cases is whether or not the father has signed the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP), which is usually presented to the father at the hospital after the child is born. Also the hospital will tell the father that his name can not be put on the birth certificate without signing the VAP. You have 60 days to rescind the VAP after you signed it, and if you do not do so within that time you are legally the father of that child. Even if you question it later or have DNA tests confirming that you are not the father, you will still be legally established as the father with very few exceptions, including fraud. The VAP confirms the father of the child but does not establish what rights the father and the mother have with the child, including parenting time and issues regarding the financial support of the child. The Court needs to address those issues.

The Keene Law Offices does not just represent just the Mother or just the Father. We handle parentage cases for either side and is well versed in the law and how they are interpreted by the local Judges.

There is no law that says the Mother has more rights than the Father with regards to the parentage and support issues to be addressed by the Court. The first determination to be made is the parenting time that each of the parents would have with the child. The law does not provide a specific amount of time each parent would have with the children. Each case varies according to the facts and the situation of the parties.

Since 2016 Illinois has become an income sharing method state in determining child support. This means the Court is to consider the income of both parties in determining child support. If one of the parties is not working at least a minimum wage full time job, the Court can impute income or calculate what the Court believes the party should be able to be earning in determining the child support amount.

A large factor in determining child support is whether the non-residential parent… which means the parent that has less time than the other parent… has 146 or more overnights annually. Under the new child support law, the number of overnights is what matters. This means you can have your child in your care every day, but if your child stays overnight at the other parent’s home, you are only credited for the amount of overnights the child stays in your home. The residential parent is the parent that has the majority of parenting time and their address is designated to be used for school purposes for the child. The Keene Law Office can help you creating a parenting time schedule that works in the best interest of you and your family.

Other costs that can be addressed and included in parentage and child support orders are school expenses, sport and extra-curricular expense, medical expenses, as well as daycare expenses. The issue of medical insurance coverage for the child or children would also be addressed in a parentage case.

Contact the Keene Law Offices to learn your rights and how you can proceed in a parentage or paternity case!

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