Establishing Paternity in Illinois

DuPage County Family Law Attorneys

Paternity is the legal term for the relationship between a father and his child. While maternity is always apparent, sometimes there may be questions as to who is the father of the child. When these questions arise, intervention of an experienced family law attorney is warranted. Attorneys in this field can help both mothers and fathers accomplish their goals in determining the paternity of the child, whether it be to enforce parental rights, child support orders, or inheritance issues.

Mothers Seeking Paternity Tests

A parent-child relationship is clearly defined under Illinois law. Mothers who want to establish that a certain individual is the father of their child may compel the individual to submit to genetic testing and interviews to help establish the paternity of the child. Paternity is often sought in order to receive financial support for childcare, medical, educational, or basic needs expenses. The father must be clearly established before any of these court orders can be entered and the mother can receive the financial support she is entitled to by law. Only after paternity is lawfully established can the mother seek financial support in a court of law.

Fathers Who Acknowledge Their Paternity

For those who will voluntarily acknowledge their paternity, the process of establishing paternity is relatively simple. Both parents must sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” form usually signed at the hospital immediately after the birth of the child. If this is not accomplished, it can be mailed in at a later date, though the birth certificate will need to be updated to reflect this change before any court action can be taken regarding child support and other issues.

Fathers Who Do Not Voluntarily Acknowledge Their Paternity

For those who will not voluntarily acknowledge their paternity, the process can be a bit more complicated. The father must actually disprove that he is the father and can be compelled to undergo genetic testing to make this final determination. There may also be interviews involved.

There are also special procedures if the mother was married when she conceived the child and the father is not her husband. This would require a “Denial of Paternity” form from the husband, and a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form from the actual father. This is because there is a legal presumption that children born of married couples were conceived by the husband and wife. If this procedure is not accomplished, then the husband is considered the legal father and will be put on the birth certificate, which can bind him to legal obligations regarding the child later on.

Fathers Seeking Paternity Tests

While a mother may seek child support for the child, fathers may contest that the child is theirs. They may not wish to be bound by the legal obligations that accompany having a child, and have a right to disprove allegations of parentage.

On the other hand, if a mother is denying a father parental rights such as visitation, the father will have an interest in proving that he is the father of the child. Someone who believes that he is the father of the child has a right to petition to establish paternity. A father has possible child custody and visitation rights, and these rights can be exercised only after paternity is legally established. If more than one man thinks he may be the father, each possible father may be required to submit to genetic testing along with the mother and the child.

Parentage and Child Court

Illinois courts have procedures regarding parentage and child matters. If either parent files a case, it may be assigned in this division. There is a hearing and the outcome will determine the procedure thereafter. At the hearing, the father will admit or deny paternity and the appropriate subsequent steps will be taken. A paternity order can even be entered in certain instances even if the father fails to appear. Attending these hearings is very important regardless of whether the father is claiming he is or is not the father of the child, as many legal obligations can arise with a court order being entered stating someone is a legal parent of a child.

Wheaton Parentage Attorneys

At Abear Law Offices, we recognize the importance of family. Whether you are a mother seeking financial support or a father wishing to assert his legal rights to see his children, we can help. Our experienced Wheaton family law attorneys know how to navigate the judicial system to ensure the process of proving or disproving paternity is completed as expeditiously as possible. We understand that these rights are important and every day that passes without knowing the paternity of your child is very emotional and has a tremendous impact on your life. Trust our office to help guide you through this process to ensure the best outcome possible. Contact one of our five greater Chicago area offices today at (630) 904-3033.

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