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shutterstock_627696287.jpg In Illinois, legal paternity is not assumed, but rather, it must be affirmatively acknowledged. It is imperative that you understand how to establish paternity so that you do not wind up with limited rights to see your children. A failure to acknowledge paternity at the appropriate time can severely restrict your right not only to see the children, but to exercise a father’s rights with regard to their lives and welfare.

Illinois Paternity Process

The procedure to formally acknowledge paternity differs, depending on whether the father is married to the child’s mother. If the couple is married at the time of the child’s birth, then the husband is presumed by law to be the father of that child, unless the father completes a Denial of Paternity form.

If the couple is not married when the child is born, and the mother is married to someone else, her husband must complete the Denial of Paternity, and both father and the mother must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. Failure to do so will place the husband by default as the father.

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shutterstock_1695503737.jpgIn the United States, a woman is killed as a result of domestic violence every six hours. One in four women in this country will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in their lives. Statistics show that every nine seconds, a woman is battered by her partner. Seventy-five percent of domestic violence victims have children living in their homes. Studies show that the closer a woman is to leaving and divorcing her abuser, the more dangerous the situation becomes.

At Botti Marinaccio, LTD., our legal team is well aware of these tragic statistics. If you are a victim, a family lawyer from our firm may be able to help you take legal action against your abuser.

The Effects of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can result in complex psychological damage for the women who are its victims. Many times, they do not want their abuser arrested and jailed; they only want the abuse to stop. As a result, many victims suffer in silence for years, not sharing with anyone the abuse they are experiencing. Restraining orders can be obtained to keep the abuser away from the victim, but victims need to depend on police departments and the court system to uphold those orders.

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shutterstock_1933822739.jpgChild support can be a difficult part of divorce to navigate. The parent paying child support often feels upset because he or she may be paying more money but getting less parenting time, and the parent receiving child support often feels as though the amount is inadequate to meet the children’s true needs. Whichever side you are on - paying or receiving - you have a legal obligation to provide financial support to your children, and it is important to know how child support is calculated in Illinois. Here are three factors to consider as support payments are determined: 

Both Parents’ Net Income

Because both parents are responsible for financially supporting their children, both parents’ incomes are considered when establishing payments. It is important to provide documentation establishing your income honestly - hiding income to try to raise or lower payments can result in legal consequences. It is also important to include certain expenses, like pre-existing child support or spousal maintenance obligations from another marriage. 

The Children’s Health Care

Child support covers basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter, but parents are also usually responsible for paying for their children’s medical care. This can include monthly insurance premiums, whether through a parent’s employer or via the health insurance exchange, and the cost of premiums may be divided between parents according to the percentage of their combined net income that each parent earns. Parents should also consider the potential cost of copays, regular doctor visits, prescription costs, and ongoing treatment such as occupational therapy. 

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cook county divorce lawyerParents getting divorced in Illinois with underage children face the daunting challenge of understanding Illinois’ child support laws. Although the laws are not unnecessarily complex, it still requires some effort to set clear expectations and ensure parents always meet their obligations. If you are getting divorced and have questions about child support, these five facts may be helpful. 

Child Support is Calculated Using Both Parents’ Incomes 

Some people may be surprised to learn that the income of both parents is considered when calculating child support payments. Both parents’ net incomes are combined and then divided according to how much each parent earns and the percentage of time the child spends with each parent. Illinois has a standardized income table for estimating child support payments, although, as discussed below, these estimations are subject to change depending on the circumstances. 

Child Support Pays for More Than Just Food and Clothing 

Although child support does cover the basics, it can also cover daycare or other childcare costs, extracurricular activities, vacations, and medical expenses. If a child has needs that exceed the average child support tables, such as an ongoing illness or need for regular therapy, child support payments can be adjusted accordingly. 

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 illinois parenting lawyerAn unmarried father-to-be may worry that he will have no say in the life or wellbeing of his child. After all, it is the mother who carries the child through pregnancy, and she may feel that if she wants no contact with the father, that is the end of the story. 

Fortunately for fathers, this is simply not true. Illinois law recognizes the importance of fathers and recently updated its laws regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time to reflect the necessity of both parents’ involvement in a child’s life whenever possible. If you are an unmarried father living in Illinois and seeking a relationship with your child, this blog is for you. 

Establish Paternity

Unmarried fathers now have the same rights as mothers - but first, parents have to establish paternity. When a couple is married in Illinois, the mother’s husband is assumed to be the child’s father. However, when a couple is not married, the father will need to prove paternity in order to have parenting rights. There are a few ways to establish paternity: 

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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