Son is 10 years old, father (unwed) has not seen him since he was a baby or paid any child support. He's gotten a lawyer & is taking mom to court to establish parentage and when that goes through to get joint custody. Is that possible when he is a total stranger to the child? What about visitation? I guess the real question is, can a man really decide after 10 years that he's ready to be a father and actually be given the right to uproot a child from the only life he has ever known, and disrupt several other lives in the process??
Yes. Custody is decided based on the "Best interests" standard, irregardless of convenience to the custodial mother. Visitation is laid out in 750 ILCS 5/607, and heavily favors the non-custodial parent minus extraordinary circumstances.
Better question: Does mom have a lawyer? Have her contact a family law attorney in her area for specific guidance.
If this is the first interest the alleged father has shown in this child, it is unlikely he will get joint or sole custody but if he truly is the father, will be held liable for child support. It is also possible that any parenting time will be gradual, limited and supervised until the child is comfortable and the father is shown to be a proper parent. The attorney may be banking on the mother not retaining counsel in order to get more for his/her client than the father would likely be entitled to. The mother should most definitely retain the services of an experienced family law practitioner.
remember. the role of the custodian is to make decisions about education, health care, and religion. if the dad has had no contact with the child for 10 yrs., it is unlikely that he will get joint custody.
he will get some visits. as judy said, start slowly and work up to more. start supervised, probably therapeutic and then work up.
mom needs a good lawyer. go get one.
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