Agreements On Custody And Co-Parenting For Parents Who Were Never Married
At Divorce Mediation & Consulting, we are proponents of uncontested parentage agreements. We help parents who were not married work out the details of co-parenting and child support without an expensive courtroom fight, through mediation or negotiation.
In divorce proceedings, care and custody of children are built into the process, and both parents automatically have legal standing. When unmarried parents split up, the father may need to establish parentage (paternity) before the two parents can iron out parenting arrangements.
Uncontested Parentage And Paternity In Illinois
When a child is born to a married woman, her husband is presumed under Illinois law to be the father (unless proven otherwise). When a child is born outside of wedlock, the father’s parentage must be established before the court can address child support and parenting time.
In an uncontested parentage case, the biological father can be recognized through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP), signed by both parties and submitted to the state. (If parentage were in doubt, a DNA paternity test would settle the matter.) We can assist with the VAP and petition for parentage.
Allocation Of Parental Responsibilities (“Custody”)
Once parentage is established, unmarried fathers have all the same rights and responsibilities as a dad who had been married to the mom. However, the family dynamics may be different. Perhaps you lived together and shared child-rearing duties. Perhaps the child has lived with the mother, and the father’s involvement was limited.
Whatever the circumstances, you now want to formalize your co-parenting roles without resorting to contested court proceedings. Our attorneys practice exclusively in family law. We can help you finalize a tentative parenting plan and submit it to a judge for approval. The court will require that you agree on everything.
- Primary residence – Which parent the child will primarily live with
- Parenting time – How many days and overnights the child will spend in each household
- Parental responsibility – Joint or sole decision-making authority regarding the child’s schooling, extracurriculars, health care and religious upbringing
- Parenting plan – Daily schedules, exchanges, summer vacation and holidays, and communication and ground rules
- Child support – Per the Illinois statutory guidelines or a justified deviation
Once you have all the details worked out, our lawyers can review your agreement, write it up in legalese and help you file with the court.
NOTE: We can technically only represent one parent. Our firm welcomes moms and dads. Whichever party we represent, our goal is an allocation of parental responsibilities that is healthy for the child, makes sense for both parents and avoids future disputes or contempt of court actions.
We also resolve parentage cases through mediation. Our lawyers are certified mediators who can guide unmarried parents to an agreement on co-parenting arrangements.
Unmarried Parents Need Parenting Plans Too
The parenting laws were created in the context of divorce, but more and more parents who were never married are actively sharing parenting duties. Our attorneys provide mediation services, document drafting and advice that are customized to your realities.