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Should Mothers Initiate Paternity Cases?

 Posted on April 26, 2024 in Paternity

IL family lawyerWhen you and your child’s father are no longer in a relationship, and he does not voluntarily become involved in your child’s life, you may be faced with a difficult decision about whether to start a paternity case. There are some clear benefits to legally establishing who your child’s father is, like being able to pursue child support. However, there may be some risks as well. Once you have established paternity, he has the right to file a child custody case and try to get parenting time. Establishing paternity also creates a legal tie between you, which may not be something you want if the relationship ended badly and you do not feel that he would be a good parent. It is important to talk through the situation with a DuPage County, IL paternity lawyer when you are considering filing a paternity case.

Deciding Whether to File a Paternity Case

Ultimately, you will need to consider what is best for your child. A few of the things you may want to think about include:

  • Will the father file? - If the father is likely to file himself, your attorney may advise against creating the appearance that you tried to conceal the child or keep the child away from him. 
  • Your safety - Sadly, the leading cause of death among pregnant women is domestic violence. If you are afraid the father will react violently to finding out that you are carrying his child, you should likely avoid addressing paternity at this time. Your attorney can help you create a safety plan.
  • Does your child need child support? - If your child will need financial support from his or her father, starting a paternity case now may be in your child’s best interests. 
  • What kind of father will he be? - If he has no interest in being a father and is likely to cause your child nothing but disappointment and heartbreak, it may be better not to involve him at all, especially if you can support the child on your own.
  • Is resolving the case out of court an option? - If the father is willing to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity and agree to child support - and you are willing to agree to share parenting time - your lawyer may be able to handle your case amicably and out of court. This outcome is likely if the man is interested in fatherhood, if there is a publicity issue, or if you have an amicable relationship. 

Contact a Naperville, IL Paternity Lawyer

Calabrese Associates, P.C. is skilled in helping mothers do what is best for their children when it comes to establishing paternity, pursuing child support, and sharing parenting time. Dedicated DuPage County, IL paternity lawyer Michael J. Calabrese has been meeting the legal needs of local families for 30 years. Contact us at 630-393-3111 for a confidential consultation.

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