Parenting in Illinois is a combination of rights and responsibilities. While the parent of a child gets to visit with the child and develop a significant and meaningful parent-child relationship with the child, the parent must also support the child physically, mentally and emotionally. These rights and responsibilities fall to both the mother and father of a child and remain until either one of them is determined to be an unfit parent. Knowing the identity of the parents of a child is, therefore, important.
It is usually quite easy to identify the mother of a child. Identifying the father, however, often proves to be more troublesome. To assist courts in determining the father of a particular child, Illinois laws set out certain “presumptions” of paternity. If a man meets one or more of the presumptions of paternity, then so long as there is insufficient evidence disproving the presumption, the man is declared to be the legal father of the child and entitled to the rights and responsibilities of parenthood.
There is no ranking or hierarchy of presumptions. A man who possesses one presumption is on as equal legal footing as a man possessing any other presumption of paternity. In a case where two or more men have a presumption of paternity, it falls upon the court to determine which man may be declared the legal father of the child. If one of the potential fathers has more presumptions than other potential fathers, the one with more presumptions will likely be declared to be the legal father. In cases where each potential father has the same number of presumptions in his favor, a court will consider all of the relevant evidence and circumstances and make a decision based on the best interest of the child as well as what appears to be fair and logical. For instance, a potential father who has spent more time with the child or with whom the child has a stronger bond will likely be designated as the child’s legal father.
Paternity suits are complicated to present and difficult to defend. Whether you are attempting to establish paternity or you are trying to disprove paternity, experienced legal help is strongly recommended. It is not the case that you cannot be declared the father of a child absent a genetic test – you most certainly can. Depending on which presumptions you believe apply in your situation, you may need to subpoena witnesses and gather important evidence in order to establish the presumption and defeat potential objections. If you are defending against a party who wants to have you established as the legal father of a child, you may have certain defenses available to you.
The Arami Law Office, P.C., is your Chicago paternity law firm. We have helped numerous clients throughout Illinois prosecute and defend against paternity suits. We will thoroughly investigate the facts of your situation so we can make powerful and persuasive arguments to the court. Contact us for assistance today by calling (312) 212-1399.
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