Unlike divorcing couples with children, parents who were never married do not receive an automatic determination of parenting time. Instead, they must pursue it. Further, a determination of child support does not guarantee parenting time to the paying parent. So how do you get time with your child if you were never married? The following information explains.
Why Pursue Parenting Time?
Fathers who are not married to the mother of their child often wonder if it is worth pursuing parenting time with their child. They may be concerned about cost, or they may fear their rights will not be acknowledged by the courts. Rest assured: so long as you are not considered to be a risk to the child’s safety or emotional well-being, it is likely that your presence may be seen as a valuable addition to the life of your child. Further, studies have shown that children often fare better when they have two loving and connected parents. Since you may be required to financially contribute to the rearing of your child, regardless of whether you pursue parenting time or not, why not consider making an emotional contribution as well?
Non-Married Parents and Paternity
Before a father can seek time with his child, paternity must be established. Establishment of paternity can be done one of three ways:
Fathers may either acknowledge paternity with or without genetic testing. Alternatively, fathers can deny or contest paternity if they do not believe there is a genetic tie. Mothers may also contest paternity if they do not believe a man is the biological father of her child. In these situations, genetic testing may be required to confirm or disprove paternity.
Pursuing Parenting Time – Where to Start
Once paternity is established, it is likely that an order for child support will be entered. Keep in mind that this does not guarantee you time with your child; parenting time determinations are separate from child support orders for non-married parents. So, if you wish to seek time with your child, speak to a family law attorney about your situation. Not only can they assist you with filing the appropriate legal paperwork, but they can also protect your rights to increase your chances of receiving a fair amount of time with your child.
Contact Our DuPage County Family Law Attorneys
At Mevorah Law Offices LLC, we believe fathers are valuable in the lives of children. Dedicated and backed by over 200 years of combined experience, our Will County family law attorneys will fight to get you the parenting time you deserve. Learn more about how we can help with your case by scheduling a free initial consultation. Call 630-932-9100 today.