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IL family lawyerIf you are expecting a child and do not anticipate having the father present in the child’s life, you may have some questions and concerns about the impact of the father’s absence. Among the issues women in this situation face are whether you should tell the father you are pregnant or list his name on the child’s birth certificate. You may be unsure whether you want to pursue child support, or whether the father will ask for parental responsibilities or parenting time. Many women are in this situation, and your concerns are normal. There is no right answer, as there are benefits but also potential drawbacks to establishing paternity. Ultimately, whether you want to do so depends on your situation.

Establishing Paternity for an Unmarried Couple

When a couple is married and the woman has a child, Illinois law presumes the husband is the child’s father. The couple does not need to establish paternity to put the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate. However, if the mother is not married, the law makes no presumption about who is the child’s father and paternity can be legally established in one of three ways:

  • Both parents sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form
  • An Order of Paternity is entered in a court by a judge
  • An Administrative Paternity Order is established by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS)

What if I Do Not Want to Establish Paternity?

If you do not want to list your child’s father on the birth certificate, you do not have to. Many women choose to not even tell the child’s father about their pregnancy due to concerns about violence or any other serious negative reaction. However, that does not mean the father will not want to try to establish paternity later if he finds out about the child.

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IL family lawyerWhen a couple is growing their family, they often use an egg donor. Whether they are choosing an egg donor for an embryo to be carried by a gestational surrogate or the intended mother herself, there are several factors to consider when choosing the right donor.

Choosing an egg donor is an intimately personal experience, and only you can know all of the factors that will contribute towards finding the right fit. Here, we discuss some of the most common issues couples and individuals consider when choosing an egg donor.

Personal and Family Health History

Modern genetic testing shows that certain people are carriers for genetic diseases, or at higher risk of certain types of cancers. Some diseases are more common within populations for whom finding a matching donor is important.

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IL family lawyerContemporary medical practice provides couples and individuals in Illinois who are struggling with fertility challenges with several options for growing their families. Those in the midst of considering the various possibilities available to them have to consider several factors, such as the time, potential cost, and third parties that may be involved, like egg donors and gestational surrogates.

When you take these together with the emotional impact of making the life-changing decision of having a child, knowing which option to choose can seem difficult and overwhelming. Having a skilled lawyer who knows the intricacies of the law can simplify the process and give you peace of mind while making sure you are aware of your rights and responsibilities under Illinois family law.

Here, we discuss the difference between two of the most common methods of bringing a child into your loving family: In vitro fertilization and gestational surrogacy.

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IL family lawyerHousing, childcare, extracurricular activities, and other child-related costs can create a significant financial burden on a single parent. Child support payments can ease this burden substantially. Unfortunately, consistently getting the child support you need is not always easy – especially if the other parent is not consistently employed. Your financial needs and the financial needs of your child do not change simply because the paying parent or “obligor” loses his or her job.

Illinois Child Support and Unemployment

In Illinois, child support payments are based on a statutory formula that takes both parent’s income into account. The lower a parent’s income compared to the other parent’s income, the lower his or her child support obligation. The parent with the greater share of “parenting time,” or time spent with the child, is the child support recipient and the other parent is the obligor. If a parent’s income is zero because of a job loss, his or her child support payment may or may not be reduced.

Voluntary Unemployment or Involuntary Unemployment

Illinois law makes a distinction between voluntary unemployment and involuntary unemployment when it comes to child support payments. If a parent quits his or her job, the court will be less likely to grant him or her a reduced child support obligation. If a parent is laid off or fired, the court will consider the parent’s attempts to regain employment. If an unemployed parent makes genuine efforts to become suitably employed, the court may allow the parent to pay a lowered child support obligation until he or she regains employment. If a parent makes little effort to find another job, it is unlikely that the court will be sympathetic to the parent’s situation. The parent may be expected to continue paying child support at the rate he or she paid it before the job loss.

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IL family lawyerThe relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is very special. Unfortunately, divorce, family arguments, and other circumstances can sometimes get in the way of this relationship. If you have grandchildren, you may be curious about your legal right to see them. You may ask, “Can my child prevent me from seeing my grandchildren?” or “Can I get visitation rights?” In Illinois, grandparents may petition the court for court-ordered visitation in some circumstances.

When Are Grandparents Awarded Visitation?

The law presumes that it is in a child’s best interests to have each of his parents involved in his life. Consequently, parents have a right to visitation, technically called “parenting time,” unless there is a good reason to restrict a parent’s parenting time. The same presumption does not exist for grandparents. However, grandparents can petition the court for visitation under certain circumstances. Illinois courts only grant grandparent visitation if at least one of the following is true:

  • The parents are divorced, and at least one parent agrees to grandparent visitation
  • The parents are unmarried and do not live together
  • At least of the parents is deemed “unfit” due to neglect, abuse, addiction, or other concerns
  • At least one of the parents has been absent from the child’s life or in jail for three or more months

Illinois courts always make decisions about child custody or visitation based on what is in the child’s best interests.

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