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st charles paternity lawyerAccording to recent statistics from the Pew Research Center, around 35 percent of unmarried parents are in cohabiting relationships. This includes many parents who have a child without getting married, but continue to live together in a committed relationship. In a case such as this, you might assume that establishing legal paternity is unnecessary, as the child’s father is living with the child and actively involved in raising him or her. However, failing to take the steps to definitively establish paternity can be a costly mistake in the long run.

Does Cohabitation Create a Presumption of Paternity?

In Illinois, there are certain situations in which a man is automatically presumed to be a child’s legal father. This includes when the man is married to the child’s mother when the child is born, as well as when the man is in a civil union or “substantially similar legal relationship” with the child’s mother, such as a domestic partnership or common law marriage established in another state. However, cohabiting alone does not qualify as a substantially similar legal relationship. This means that even if a man lives with his child, he may not be recognized as the child’s father under the law.

Taking Steps to Establish Paternity

There are several major downsides of failing to establish legal paternity after a child is born. It will be more difficult for the child and the child’s mother to secure child support from the father, and the child will also not have access to other benefits through the father, including inheritance rights, insurance coverage, and government benefits. Also, if the man’s relationship with the mother ends, he will not have the right to petition for parental responsibilities and parenting time unless he has been recognized as the child’s legal father.

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St. Charles paternity lawyersStudies have shown that a child thrives when he or she has a healthy relationship with both parents, regardless of the relationship between the adults. A mother and a father play different roles in the psychological development of a child. However, in some cases, the father’s identity may be in question for various reasons. For example, the mother might not have been married at the time she gave birth, and she may have had multiple romantic partners. 

Paternity refers to the legal relationship between a father and his biological child, which involves the rights and obligations of both the father and the child to each other. Even if both parents do not remain romantically involved, they can still work together for the best interest of their child by providing financial and emotional support. Establishing paternity is also important for protecting each parent’s rights.  

The Process of Establishing Paternity 

If a child's mother is or was married when the child was born or within 300 days prior to the child’s birth, the person the mother was married to (or in a civil union) at that time is presumed to be the child’s second parent. If the mother was married to a man, the man is presumed to be the child’s father. 

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