The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Initial Consultations via ZOOM Available

IL family lawyerEqual treatment is essential when it comes to American law. Married and unmarried parents both have the same parental rights and obligations. When people have children while unwed, things can become complicated if they decide to end their relationship. Enforcing these rights and responsibilities can add to the situation's complexity. No matter the case, Illinois laws are made to look out for the child's best interest.

What Happens When Unmarried Parents Decide to Part Ways?

Unmarried couples typically live under agreements in which they decide upon themselves. If they choose to part ways, then they must establish paternity. Similarly, they should also decide on child custody and support issues. Unmarried couples do not have the same rights as married couples. When married couples get divorced, their marital property is equitably distributed between them. However, being unmarried means that these couples will need to decide what is ultimately in the best interest of not only themselves but their child.

Legal Custody

When unmarried parents decide to end their relationship, the child's mother may automatically have sole legal and physical custody of the child depending on what steps have been taken prior to the breakup by the parents. This allows the mother to be in charge of making the crucial decisions surrounding their child’s welfare. A mother with sole legal and physical custody of a child is in charge of the following:


kane county divorce lawyerAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2020, more than 40 percent of all births were out-of-wedlock. Sometimes the paternity of the father of out-of-wedlock births is unknown. Other times, for whatever reason, a mother may purposely keep the paternity private from the father. Unless paternity is established, the mother retains all legal rights to her child. A paternity attorney with expertise in advocating for parental rights can evaluate and explain the legalities of your case and help you create an effective parenting plan

Six Benefits of Establishing Paternity

The advantages of establishing paternity can benefit both the mother and father but is most especially invaluable for the child. Some benefits of establishing paternity include the following: 

  1. Establishing paternity enables and fosters a relationship between the father and child.


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_523810459.jpgEstablishing parentage of a child has many benefits. In the case of paternity, determining parentage can be difficult depending on the marital status between the parents and paternity allegations. Often, the best way to determine the biological father of a child is by taking a paternity DNA test. These are the four main reasons to take a paternity test in Illinois.

You Want the Alleged Father to Pay Child Support 

Even if a father is not interested in being a part of the child’s life, he is still accountable for financially supporting the child. A mother who is interested in obtaining child support from the father of her child may need to request a DNA paternity test. By requesting the alleged father take a DNA test and prove paternity, you can ensure that he is held to his legal responsibilities. 

The Father Wants Custody Rights 

Courts will allow for custody rights including parenting time based on the best interests of the child in question. Typically, this encourages both the mother and father to be an active part of their child’s life. If the paternity of a child is undetermined, a parent or the court may request a paternity DNA test to be conducted. A father-child relationship can be an important bond for both the dad and the child. By establishing paternity, a father can secure custody rights to encourage involvement in the child’s life. 


Geneva family law attorney paternity

When a child is born to parents who are unmarried, the father does not yet have any legal rights to the child, unlike the mother. Many parents, especially fathers, do not realize that there are certain steps that they must take to gain their legal parental rights and to ensure the paternity of their child is established. Until the paternity of a child is established, no orders pertaining to parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, or child support will be entered. Paternity can be established in a variety of ways, but the situation is not always as easy as just completing paperwork. A knowledgeable paternity lawyer will be able to help make the process a little easier.

Uncontested Declaration of Paternity

Before a father can establish his legal rights, he must first ensure that his paternity is established over his child. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but the easiest way to establish paternity is by using a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form. This form can be filled out right in the hospital after the child is born and only requires both the mother's and the father’s signatures to be valid. Once you sign the VAP, you are able to have the father’s name put on the child’s birth certificate.


Batavia family law attorney paternity

When you are not married and you have a child in Illinois, establishing the paternity of your child can be more complicated than it is for a couple who is married. When a couple is married at the time the child is born, the man to whom the mother is married is presumed to be the child’s legal father. When a couple is not married, there are extra steps that must be taken to establish the paternity of their child. For many people, establishing the paternity of their child is a sentimental act, but it also carries many legal benefits for everyone, including the mother and father. For instance, fathers in Illinois do not have any rights to parenting time or parental decision-making responsibilities unless their paternity has been established to their child. Paternity cases can become complicated, but an experienced Illinois paternity lawyer can guide you through the process.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

When you establish the paternity of a child, this change can affect not only the child but also the mother and father, too. In many cases, parents may not think of some of the benefits of making the legal connection between the child and his or her father. Here are some of the biggest benefits that establishing paternity provides:

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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