Currently, out-of-wedlock births make up about 40% of all births in Cook County. This proportion is even higher in some communities. Raising a child is always challenging. Raising a child as a single parent is especially challenging. As outlined below, a paternity action makes this process a little easier.

Despite the benefits of a paternity action, some mothers hesitate to file one. Many believe these matters are too complex. But in most cases, that is not true. Other mothers are afraid to disclose their addresses to the fathers. If necessary, courts routinely mask addresses and take other precautions in this area.

So, if you are on the fence regarding a paternity action, there is no good reason not to partner with a Chicago family law attorney. A lawyer can minimize the risks and maximize the rewards. And, as is the case so often in life, if people keep their eyes on the prize, success usually follows.

Child Support

Unless they are court ordered to do so, even the most well-meaning parents often pay child support sporadically at best. Court-ordered child support gets parents in the habit of making regular payments. They know that if they fail to do so, the Attorney General could bring an action against them.

Child support orders usually include medical support orders. The paying parent must place the child on his or her health insurance plan and pay the premium. The parties usually divide copays and other uninsured costs proportionally.

Expense Reimbursement

Routine births usually cost thousands of dollars. If there are complications, the cost could be several times higher. Many mothers have limited resources with which to pay these expenses, so they must accept burdensome payment plans.

Paternity orders typically include hospital birth expense reimbursement. Generally, the father deals with providers directly and the mother’s name is stricken from financial records. So, if the bill becomes delinquent, the father, and only the father, is on the hook.

Consistent Parent-Child Contact

Illinois law presumes that children benefit from frequent, consistent, and meaningful contact with both parents. An every-other-weekend schedule promotes such contact. If the child is very young, judges usually order fathers to take parenting classes or accept supervised visitation.

This kind of contact is not always in the best interests of the children. That is especially true if there are verified instances of physical, emotional, or other abuse that somehow involved the child. So, there is no one-size-fits-all visitation.

Better Medical Diagnosis

Family medical history is often an important component of accurate diagnosis, especially regarding serious chronic conditions. If the father’s medical history is available, doctors have additional information. Otherwise, they only know about half the puzzle pieces.

Personal Protection

If needed, paternity orders usually include permanent injunctions. These provisions prohibit family violence and also prohibit stalking and other unsettling behaviors. Frequently, fathers must also surrender firearms and attend anger management classes.

Contrary to popular myth, a protective order is not just a piece of paper. Police officers who are reluctant to get involved in domestic disputes often intervene if a court order is at issue. Additionally, these orders give mothers a chance to give daycares and other entities official notice of the issue.

Touch Base with a Savvy Attorney

Paternity cases have too many benefits to ignore. Contact Delaney Heckman for a consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Chicago,