It’s vital for every parent and alleged parent entering the family court system of Bloomington, IL to understand what a paternity dispute entails. “Paternity” refers to a child’s biological father. In some cases, paternity is assumed, and in others it must be legally established. It’s possible for both mothers and fathers to file paternity suits in Bloomington. If you are an alleged father, proving paternity can help you assert your parental rights. If you believe you have been wrongly named as a child’s father, a paternity suit can help you disprove the mother’s claims and avoid financial responsibility for a child that is not biologically yours.

An experienced Bloomington, IL paternity lawyer is a great asset to have no matter what type of paternity dispute you currently face. Your legal team can guide you through your proceedings and help you determine the best steps to take following the receipt of your paternity test results. You may also need an attorney’s assistance to initiate a paternity dispute in some situations.

Common Reasons for Filing Paternity Suits in Bloomington, IL

When a married woman gives birth, her husband is the child’s presumptive father. Paternity is less straightforward for unmarried parents. While an unmarried presumptive father may be willing to sign a child’s birth certificate as their biological father, some may be unwilling to do so. It’s also possible for a married presumptive father to have reasons to doubt whether he is actually the father of the child in question.

A paternity suit may be necessary for an unmarried mother who needs to hold her child’s biological father accountable for their parental responsibilities and child support obligation. Unmarried fathers may need to file paternity suits to establish their parental rights. Married presumptive fathers may need to file paternity suits if they suspect their spouses have been unfaithful. Ultimately, there are many ways for paternity disputes to arise. These can be emotionally challenging situations, but it’s vital for all parents to understand the importance of these legal mechanisms.

How Does a Paternity Suit Work?

A paternity suit is a family law matter that requires establishing the biological parentage of a child. The alleged father must submit a DNA sample to be tested alongside a sample from the child in question. The Bloomington, IL family court system uses reliable testing methods that report accurate results. If the DNA samples come back as a match, this proves the alleged father is the actual father and therefore beholden to his parental rights and responsibilities. If the DNA does not match, this will prevent the father from being wrongfully accountable for child support and other parental obligations.

Both mothers and alleged or presumptive fathers can file paternity suits in Bloomington, IL. Some presumptive fathers will need to file paternity claims to assert their parental rights and seek custody. Others will need to complete paternity dispute proceedings to disprove their presumptive parental responsibilities and avoid a child support obligation for someone else’s child.

Understandably, paternity disputes are emotionally charged issues for everyone involved. Some of these disputes unfold immediately following the birth of a child while others may not manifest until years after a child is born and a presumptive father has already been part of a child’s life for many years. These situations often lead to very difficult family law proceedings, and it’s essential to have legal representation to guide you through your paternity case.

Paternity Suits and Child Support

Many mothers throughout the United States are forced to file paternity suits to hold the fathers of their children accountable for child support. The family court systems throughout the U.S. uphold that children have the right to financial support from both of their parents, and paternity suits are often necessary for ensuring biological fathers take responsibility for their children. Mothers can use a paternity suit to accurately establish their child’s parentage and secure the child support legally owed for their child.

Presumptive fathers should know their rights and the risks of agreeing to sign a child’s birth certificate without a paternity test. Presumptive and acknowledged fathers in Bloomington, IL are liable for child support, even without a DNA test to objectively prove a child’s paternity. Many men in this situation have later discovered that their alleged children are not their biological offspring, and they have been paying child support wrongfully for years. In these situations, it’s possible for paternity suits to lead to paternity fraud claims. These are very difficult cases, and it’s vital to have legal counsel you can trust in this situation.

What Can I Do If I’ve Been Subjected to Paternity Fraud?

If you were intentionally misled to believe that you were the father of a child and paid child support, you could have grounds for a paternity fraud claim if you later discover the child is not actually yours. Some men in this situation have successfully sued the mothers who intentionally misled them, but success with paternity fraud cases is very difficult. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant not only knew the child’s true parentage but also intentionally misled the plaintiff.

Paternity fraud claims can potentially yield compensation for intentional infliction of emotional distress and may release the plaintiff from his wrongful child support obligation. However, when it comes to securing repayment of owed child support, the plaintiff would likely need to file a civil claim against the child’s actual biological father. Courts generally won’t hold mothers accountable for repayment of child support because this inherently harms the child.

Seek Legal Counsel

No matter what type of paternity dispute you face in Bloomington, IL, it’s vital to have legal counsel you trust to guide you through the situation effectively. Paternity disputes are relatively straightforward cases that can have very complex effects. Your attorney can help you determine the best approach to your case and prepare you for each stage of your proceedings. If you are unsure what to do about a paternity dispute, contact a Bloomington, IL family law attorney to discuss your legal options.