What Steps Should an Unmarried Father Take?

Our Illinois Family Lawyers Describe Your Options

An unmarried father has all the basic rights of a married father, if he asserts them. If he fails to assert them his rights can be lost. The worst case scenario In Illinois is when a father does not participate at all and the child is placed for adoption. The non-participating father will then be found "unfit" by reason of his failure to participate and when the adoption goes through his rights as a father extinguished.

No matter what your situation, contact the Illinois family law attorneys at Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

Steps an Unmarried Father Should Take

  • Participate at birth: If you are a rock solid monogamous couple, you can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity at the hospital. This will lock you in as the father. The problem with the law regarding a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity is that it prevents later DNA testing. This contrasts the rights of a married man in a divorce case who can have the paternity of his "presumed" children tested.
  • Not rock solid: If you are not a rock solid monogamous couple do not sign the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. You should think about avoiding even go to the hospital so you are not pressured to sign. You can then later file your paternity case and secure DNA testing and your rights as a father.
  • Think twice: The birth of a child is an emotional, nerve-racking time for a man. You need to be honest with yourself and you need to have the fortitude to say no when you are pressured to agree that you are "rock solid" when there are signs that you are not.
  • Putative Father Registry: In Illinois, if you think you may be the father you should go online to the Illinois Putative Father Registry and sign up. This will entitle you to be notified if the mother attempts to have the child adopted. This website also has good information for at-home DNA testing.

Helping Fathers in Illinois

Wakenight & Associates, P.C. has offices in Oak Park, Mokena, Joliet, Aurora, Elmhurst, Burr Ridge, St. Charles, Lake Forest, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and Chicago Loop to help you when you need it.

Call us in any of the following counties:

  • Cook County or Lake County: (888) 351-2843
  • DuPage, Kane, or Kendall County: (888) 339-4162
  • Will, Kankakee, Grundy, or South Cook Counties: (888) 303-1846