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How Do I Establish Paternity in Illinois?

Posted on in Family Law

Schaumburg paternity and parentage attorney

When a baby is born to a married couple, the mother’s husband is assumed to be the father of the child. Paternity is the legal definition of a father’s relationship with the child. When a father establishes that he is legally the father, he has rights to the child, such as parenting time. This is what legally differentiates him from anyone else, such as a family friend or other father figure. Establishing paternity not only strengthens the relationship between father and child, but the child will also benefit.

Ways to Confirm Parentage

The only way paternity is automatically established is through marriage. Even if the parents of a child live together, or are engaged to be married, paternity will need to be established another way. The only exception is if the mother was married, or in a civil union, at least 300 days before the birth. In these cases, her partner or former partner will be assumed to be the child’s father. 

The easiest way for a couple to establish the paternity of a child is to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. This is a legally binding document and is completed by the birth mother and person wanting to claim paternity over the child. By signing this document, a couple is assuming the paternity without following through with a DNA test. The father assumes responsibility for the child and also consents to be listed on the birth certificate. This form can be completed at the hospital after a child is born, but it is not recommended if the mother and presumed father are not sure about the child's paternity. Parents have 60 days from signing this form to retract it. 

If either party refuses to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, then a paternity test can be ordered by the court. Establishing paternity legally confirms a father’s responsibility for a child. Either the birth mother or the father in question can request this. While parenting time and parental responsibility are not allocated by a paternity order, once paternity has been legally established, a father may ask to court to make decisions on these issues. 

By establishing paternity, a child benefits from the support of two parents, both emotionally and financially. Along with monetary child support, a child also has access to the father’s inheritance, social security benefits, retirement plans, health insurance coverage, and any military or veteran's benefits. 

Contact a Palatine Paternity Lawyer

A parent has the right to care for his or her biological child, and a child has the right to benefits and the support of two parents. For more than 30 years, Anderson and Associates, P.C. has been providing effective legal counsel during the process of establishing paternity. We understand how parentage can be a sensitive topic, but taking steps to establish paternity can be important for the well-being of any child. Contact a knowledgeable Schaumburg family law attorney to protect your rights as a father or establish legal parentage for your child. Call our office today at 847-995-9999 to schedule a free consultation.




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