Paternity / Parentage Attorneys


When the parents of a child have never married, it is usually necessary to establish the father's paternity through his own acknowledgment or through a DNA test in administrative or court proceedings.


Formal determination of paternity is necessary in at least two situations: first, to establish and enforce a right of child support against the father; and second, to establish and enforce the father's own parental rights to custody and visitation of the child. For a free consultation about the paternity process whether you are a mother or a father, contact the law office of Thomas W. Hunter, P.C., for a free consultation.


Paternity Has Been Established. Now What?


Once a man's paternity of the child is formally established, he will be liable for child support in the amount provided under the Illinois Child Support Guidelines. The same issues as to establishing his income and identifying deductions as apply in divorce cases will apply in paternity cases, with one important exception: the father will pay 100 percent of the guidelines amount unless he has physical custody of the child at least 50 percent of the time.


Another important difference between paternity and divorce is the separate nature of determining child support and child custody. When an unmarried father's paternity and child support obligations are determined, he must either counterclaim or separately petition for physical custody or a visitation schedule.


Many unmarried fathers who are interested in maintaining and protecting a relationship with their children find that a formal visitation order can protect them from the interruptions and confusion that a less formal or uncertain arrangement with the child's mother can often present.


Is The Mother Relocating? We Can Pursue Visitation Rights.


A formal visitation order is also essential to protecting the father's interests if the mother chooses to move to a distant city, another state or even a foreign country. Our experience with the interstate and international enforcement of child custody decrees and parental rights can help you understand and assert your rights under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act or international treaties such as the Hague Convention.


We even have successfully enforced Illinois visitation decrees on behalf of unmarried parents in Islamic countries under Sharia law.


Our Attorneys Can Help - Contact Us Today


To learn more about our ability to offer effective client service for unmarried mothers or fathers in paternity cases and child custody disputes in the suburbs of Chicago or around the world, contact a knowledgeable lawyer at the firm of Thomas W. Hunter P.C., today.