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What Are the Benefits of Establishing Paternity in Illinois?

Posted on in Family Law

Schaumburg paternity lawyer

When a baby is born, the biological mother is already established, but unless the mother is married, the child's father is not presumed to be a legal parent. Paternity is the legal relationship between a father and a child. In cases where paternity needs to be established, doing so benefits the child in many ways. For example, it can foster a positive relationship between the father and child. In addition, the child is entitled to receive certain benefits, such as child support and health or life insurance based on the father’s employment.   

Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity and DNA Tests

Under Illinois law, if two people are not married or in a civil union, then a form can be signed to identify the father of a child. This is called Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP), and it will ensure that a father can be listed on the child’s birth certificate. The form can be filled out at the hospital or at a later time by obtaining it from a child support office, county clerk’s office, or online. To complete this process, both parents must read and understand their rights upon signing the form. The form is then filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

The Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form should only be signed if the parents are certain about the identity of the child's biological father, since by signing this form, a father assumes responsibility for the child. If a person learns after signing the form that he is not the child's biological father, he has 60 days from the effective date of the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity to file a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity.

If parents do not sign a VAP, paternity can be established through an administrative paternity order or through a court order after a paternity hearing is held. In these cases, a DNA test will typically be performed to provide accurate proof that a person is indeed the biological father of a child.  

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

Research shows that children benefit most from the support of two parents. Although a father figure may be in a child’s life, establishing paternity ensures a child’s security. It may seem like a difficult process that may be unnecessary if a father is already supporting a child, but there are certain privileges a child will only receive if paternity is established.

If something were to happen to the mother of the child, establishing paternity gives the father sole parental rights to the child. If paternity is not established, the father of a child will not necessarily have custody of the child after the mother's death. On the other hand, if something were to happen to the father, the child would receive benefits if paternity is established. A child is entitled to a parent’s inheritance, social security, and life insurance benefits, so the child would essentially be supported by two parties if the father passed away. In everyday circumstances, establishing paternity gives the father rights to parenting time and decision-making responsibility for the child. The child will also be entitled to financial support and health insurance benefits.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Family Law Attorney

Establishing paternity is essential to families for many reasons. It not only gives your child financial and emotional support, but it secures your rights as a parent. Contact an experienced Schaumburg paternity lawyer to help organize DNA testing to secure a legal relationship with your child. Anderson & Associates, P.C. will work diligently to protect your rights throughout the legal process. Call our office today at 847-995-9999 for a free consultation. 

Source:

http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/birth-death-other-records/birth-records/paternity

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