A mother has automatic rights after the birth of a child. No one will ever question her relationship with the baby to whom she gave birth. Fathers aren’t nearly that fortunate. There can be a lot of confusion regarding who the actual father is.
The husband of the married woman automatically has paternity, but unmarried fathers are not in the same legal position. They will need to establish their paternity if they want to assert their rights as a father at all. Unfortunately, it can be harder to establish paternity if you are not on good terms with the mother of your child.
Can the mother of your child effectively prevent you from establishing paternity?
A mom can choose not to cooperate
The fastest and easiest way to add you to the birth certificate for your child and secure your rights as a father is to have the mother fill out Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity paperwork affirming that you are the father. Unfortunately, if she does not want to cooperate with you, there is no way to compel her to do so.
However, the courts can compel her to present your child for genetic testing. After a round of tests on you, the child and the mother, you will then have a very clear answer as to whether or not you are the father of the child. If the test affirms your biological connection, you will then be able to ask for your paternal rights, including parenting time.
The mother cannot refuse testing ordered by the courts
Although the mother of your child can delay the process of proving paternity by not cooperating with you, she will have no choice but to submit to the testing ordered by the courts. Failing to do so could lead to enforcement actions, including penalties for being in contempt of court.
Additionally, if she seems unnecessarily oppositional about your involvement in the child’s life, that may give the courts a more favorable impression of you and make it easier for you to secure more parenting time with your child. While cooperating may be the simplest approach, you have rights as a father even when the mother does not want to acknowledge you.
Learning more about the rules for establishing paternity in Illinois can help unmarried fathers step into a parental role.