According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, birth rates of unmarried women is at an all time high. In the U.S. alone, the percent of births to unmarried women is 40.7%. In cases where children are born to single mothers, the role of the father sometimes hangs in the balance. Fathers with children born outside of wedlock, are sometimes faced with problems regarding their right to see and parent their child when relationships unravel.
Ideally, questions regarding custody, parenting and related financial obligations can be worked out between parents experiencing a break-up. However, when the child’s mother and father cannot agree on parental and custody rights, legal action may be taken. Securing knowledgeable legal representation is advisable in this case.
In Illinois, a man may be legally deemed a father by the courts if he meets one of the following requirements:
- The man and child’s biological mother are or were married and the child was born or conceived during the marriage, even if the marriage is later declared invalid
- The man is named as the child’s father on the birth certificate with his written consent
- An acknowledgement of paternity has been signed by both parents
If none of the above-referenced situations apply to a given situation, an unwed father must register with the State’s Putative Father Registry either before the child is born, or within 30 days of the child’s birth. Although some exceptions to the 30-day-rule may be considered, unwed fathers who fail to meet the registration deadline may effectively waive their legal and parental rights to a child.
If you have specific questions regarding paternity rights, please contact our offices. Attorney Ronald Bell has 30 years of experience in matters of family law, with emphasis in child custody law.