Protecting Your Family And Your Future

What rights do fathers have in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2022 | Fathers' Rights |

Parental rights are largely automatic, but fathers often feel like they have fewer protections than mothers do. After all, the connection between the mother and the child is undeniable, while a father requires marriage, paperwork signed by the mother or genetic testing to validate his claims to a parental role.

Given that women have historically been the primary caregivers for children, fathers frequently feel like they have limited options when divorcing the mother of their children or seeking a relationship with children born to women they did not legally marry. Thankfully, such beliefs are not accurate. State law uses general language regarding parenting rights instead of sex-specific language.

What rights do fathers have in Illinois?

The right to legally establish paternity

Married fathers benefit from a presumption of paternity that will have their name automatically included on a child’s birth certificate. Unmarried fathers will need to fill out paperwork with the mother of their child to have their name added to the birth certificate.

However, if the mother is uncooperative, a father has the right to ask the Illinois family courts for help. They can order genetic testing that will establish paternity within a very small margin of error.

The right to parenting time and authority

Fathers recognized as such by the state have parental rights and responsibilities. When the state recognizes that you are the father of a child, you can assert those rights in family court.

Illinois state law allows for the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities through the creation of a custody order or parenting plan. You have a right to time with your child and also to have a say in major concerns about your child, such as what health care they receive, what school they attend and what religion they practice. Courts typically expect parents to share not just time with the children and financial responsibility for them, but also that decision-making power.

The right to enforcement support

A court order isn’t always enough to get the other parent to work with you. Sometimes, the courts need to enforce a custody order or parenting plan by implementing penalties for the other party. When you don’t get your court-ordered parenting time or visitation access, enforcement efforts can help push the mother into compliance and protect your relationship with your child.

Knowing about and asserting your rights as an Illinois father will benefit not just you but also your child.