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Mt. Prospect paternity lawyerTaking care of a child is a monumental task that involves both physical caretaking and making decisions that impact a child’s daily and long-term life. While the specific duties shift over time as the child ages, the responsibilities of a parent never completely go away. Most parents perform these as simply a part of fulfilling this role, and a parent may never stop to consider whether he or she qualifies as a legal parent, or what this designation even means.

The designation of legal parent brings a number of rights and obligations that only certain people are eligible to receive, regardless of the love and care a person may give to a child. Specifically, legal parents are the only adults authorized to make decisions on behalf of the child, particularly those related to education and medical treatment. In addition, only a legal parent is permitted to request access to the child and parenting time in the event of divorce or separation. With all of the non-traditional family structures that make up society today, this status is not the given it was in the past.

Who Is a Legal Parent?

The law is fairly clear on who, when, and how a person is recognized as a legal parent, and practically speaking, fathers are the most affected by these laws. The reason for that dichotomy is that mothers automatically become a child’s legal parent upon giving birth to a child (aside from surrogacy situations), but fathers are not always so easily tied to the birth of a child. However, the law does recognize four situations in which a person is considered a legal parent:

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Posted on in Paternity

rescinding paternity, Palatine Family Law Attorney

In Illinois, if parents are not married at the time of a child’s birth, then the child’s paternity must be established by other means. One way to establish paternity in Illinois is to voluntarily acknowledge one's paternity. To do this, both parents must agree that the man is the child’s father.

However, sometimes, a mother or father later regrets the decision to acknowledge paternity. Perhaps one party was pressured into signing, or the father of the child was mistaken. Fortunately, there is a way to rescind the acknowledgment.

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