Signing a child’s birth certificate is a symbolic step toward paternity acknowledgement, but it is only symbolic. A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity is the first official step in this process. However, a VAP only establishes an administrative parent-child relationship, mostly for child support purposes.
To establish a full legal parent-child relationship, a Rolling Meadows family law attorney must file a petition in court. This petition is the only way to guarantee that fathers have full legal rights with regard to their children. Legal action has emotional benefits as well, especially for children. A VAP and other non-court paperwork can establish a semi-formal relationship. But only a paternity petition helps establish an emotional bond.
Regardless of what the paperwork says, most fathers make financial sacrifices to support their children. Unfortunately, unless official paperwork is on file, these payments are completely unverifiable. The mother can easily claim she did not receive the money, especially if the father paid in cash or shared expenses with the mother.
Usually, once court supervision begins, fathers may make payments through internet portals and other approved channels. These records are proof positive of payment. It is almost impossible for anyone to successfully challenge these payment records.
These same channels are usually available for other court-ordered support payments, like medical bill reimbursement.
Perhaps more importantly, a legal paternity action sets up a timesharing schedule. Fathers have exclusive control of their children during designated periods. Additionally, the mother must usually keep the father informed about important milestones in the child’s life, like football games or school plays. And, the father has a right to attend these events, at least in most cases.
There are some big picture custody benefits as well. Typically, legal fathers have the inside track in terms of full custody decisions. Non-legal biological parents usually only have an outside shot, at best. Moreover, unless there is a legal parent-child relationship, most mothers may unilaterally make life-changing decisions, such as moving to another state or even putting the child up for adoption.
Signing and filing a VAP starts the legal paternity process. The rest of the process is usually rather straightforward.
In the unlikely event that the mother contests paternity, a non-invasive DNA swab test is almost absolutely conclusive in these situations.
As for the other provisions of a paternity order, both parties agree on custody, financial support, and other provisions. Frequently, court orders do not change anything. They simply formalize the existing relationship and add the aforementioned legal rights. If the parties cannot agree on all provisions, mediation is usually a good idea. A third-party mediator, who is usually an independent Rolling Hills family law attorney, meets with both sides and helps them come together on contested issues, so they can avoid a costly and risky trial.
Signing an acknowledgment is the first step toward legal paternity. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Rolling Meadows, contact Andrea Heckman Law, Ltd. Convenient payment plans are available.
Walked in just for consultation, and in less than 45 days, my case was closed! Thanks to attorney Andrea Heckman, with all her passion and professional manner! Couldn’t be happier! Thank you so much for everything! Great attorney for all family needs! Thank you.
From the moment I walked in as a client to the end when everything was complete, I was very pleased with attorney Andrea Heckman, her knowledge, and professionalism! Her whole staff was always helpful. I would use them again if needed and refer them to everyone I know! Thank you.
Andrea Heckman has been my attorney helping/guiding/advocating for my children and I regarding my custody situation. We are in the process of working towards a more equal parenting schedule, and I have faith in her efforts and expertise to accomplish this.
I have used this office since 2018 and have nothing but excellent things to say. Andrea Heckman handled my divorce with no faults. Andrea is currently handling my child custody case and has been on top of everything! Andrea Heckman is an unstoppable force, and I would recommend her to anyone!
I could not ask for a better attorney to represent me during my case which is Andrea Heckman. Anytime I had any questions, I got a response in a timely manner. Andrea walked me through a very difficult time which was a divorce/child custody case. Andrea is very knowledgeable and motivating. The staff has been nothing but welcoming and professional. If I have to go to court for anything, I will definitely be giving this firm a call again.
Heckman Law is handling my divorce/custody. Andrea is very professional, knowledgeable, and responsive. She will take the time to answer and explain any questions you may have. She usually responds within a few hours. Honest about possible outcomes, whether it’s good or bad news. My ex doesn’t want to negotiate or cooperate with anything. Andrea is willing to fight in the courtroom for you. The case is ongoing.
I was represented by Andrea Heckman, and if it wasn’t for her, I would have been so lost. She guided me through my difficult situation. Some lawyers are about money. I knew that Andrea cared about me and my situation.
Ms. Heckman is a great lawyer. She helped me get time with my daughter when my ex was being nasty and refusing to let me see my baby. I thank her for all her hard work.
Ms. Heckman managed our parents’ will and advanced care planning documents expeditiously, skillfully, and with compassion during a stressful situation. We referred her to a family member for divorce with child custody issues, and she was pleased enough to refer her to 2 others for divorce services. A true professional.
Please contact our law office in Rolling Meadows for legal assistance with divorce, child custody, or visitation issues. We serve clients in the Chicago metropolitan area who need the help of an experienced and dedicated family law attorney.