How Are Child Custody and Child Support Determined for Unwed Parents?
Even those who do not regularly follow celebrity news may have heard about the breakup of Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson. Aside from the entertainment aspect of the story, people may be curious about the legal effects of the breakup and how similar matters would be handled in Illinois. Since the couple has a child together, the question of how child custody and child support will be handled may be on some people’s minds.
Child Custody for Unwed Parents in Illinois
When a child is born to a married couple in Illinois, the husband is assumed to be the father of the child. However, that is not the case when the parents are unwed. If unmarried parents break up, the parentage of the child will need to be legally established before decisions can be made about child custody.
Parentage is established in one of three ways in Illinois. The easiest way is for both parents to complete a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) in which they both agree the man in question is the biological father of the child. If the parents do not agree to submit a VAP, a court may order DNA testing to establish that the man is the child’s biological father, and an Order of Paternity will be issued. In addition to these options, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services may also conduct paternity testing and enter an Administrative Paternity Order.
Once paternity has been established, the court may address the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation). These matters will be handled in a manner similar to how they would be addressed if a married couple was getting a divorce. The parents may be able to share in decision-making responsibility for their child, or different areas of responsibility may be allocated to each parent. Even if the child will live primarily with one parent, the other parent has the right to reasonable parenting time with the child. Decisions about child custody and visitation will be made based on what is in the child’s best interests.
Child Support for Unwed Parents in Illinois
Whether parents are married or unmarried, both parents have a responsibility to provide for the financial needs of their children. When parents do not live together, the custodial parent (that is, the parent with the majority of the parenting time) will typically receive child support payments from the non-custodial parent. The amount of these payments is based on the income earned by both parents. In addition to the basic support obligation determined using the guidelines defined in Illinois law, a non-custodial parent may also be required to contribute toward other costs, such as educational expenses, medical insurance, and extra-curricular activities such as daycare or summer camp.
Need Help Establishing Paternity? Contact a Rolling Meadows Family Lawyer
Family law matters can be difficult to resolve, and they can be especially complicated if parents are unmarried. If, after ending your relationship with your child’s other parent, you need to address matters related to child custody or child support, contact skilled Hoffman Estates family law attorney Nicholas W. Richardson at 847.873.6741. Attorney Richardson will fight for your rights and guide you through the process of establishing parentage, custody, and child support in the Illinois courts. Call our office today for your free consultation.