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When Is it Necessary to Establish Paternity in Illinois?

Posted on February 23, 2023 in Illinois Family Law

DuPage County Parentage AttorneyIf you are a parent who is involved in a family law matter in Illinois, you may need to address issues related to legal parentage. While this will not be a factor in every divorce or child custody case, there are certain situations where paternity may need to be established in order to protect a father's rights or ensure that children can receive financial support or other benefits. By understanding the laws related to paternity in Illinois, parents can make sure they take the correct steps to provide for their children's best interests.

What Is Paternity?

Paternity is the legal recognition of a child's biological father. When paternity is established, the father will be named as the legal parent of the child, giving him the right to request to share custody of the child and the obligation to provide financial support to ensure the child's ongoing needs are met. In Illinois, paternity is referred to as "parentage," and these cases may affect the relationships between a child and both parents, including mothers, fathers, and LGBTQ parents.

When Does Paternity Need to Be Established?

In some cases, a father may be automatically recognized as the legal parent of his child without the need to take any additional steps to establish paternity. A presumption of paternity will exist in cases where a mother is married at the time of the child's birth, and her spouse (including a same-sex spouse) will be recognized as the child's legal parent and listed on the child's birth certificate. If the mother was previously married, and the marriage ended no more than 300 days before a child was born, the mother's ex-spouse will be presumed to be the parent of the child. In other situations, or in cases where someone other than the mother's spouse or ex-spouse is the child's biological father, paternity will need to be established.

How Is Paternity Established?

In order to establish paternity in Illinois, one of three methods must be used: voluntary acknowledgment by both parties, an administrative order through DCFS, or a court order. If the mother and father are in agreement that they are the child's biological parents, they can fill out and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form and submit it to their local court. If the mother is married or was formerly married to someone other than the child's biological father, a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity will need to be accompanied by a Denial of Paternity form signed by the presumed parent.

In cases where paternity is disputed, parents may work together with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to determine whether they can reach an agreement about paternity, and an administrative paternity order may then be submitted to the court. In other cases, a parent may submit a petition to adjudicate parentage in court. In these cases, a judge will usually order the parents to submit to DNA testing to verify the identity of the biological father. Once a genetic test confirms the biological parent/child relationship, an order of paternity will be issued naming the father as the child's legal parent.

Contact Our Oakbrook Terrace Paternity Attorneys

Establishing paternity can be an important step for parents. It will ensure that both parents have rights and responsibilities regarding the care and support of their child. It also provides the child with a variety of benefits, including the right to receive Social Security and veterans' benefits through a parent, the ability to access family medical history, and the right to receive an inheritance from their father. If you want to know more about how to establish paternity, or if you need to address issues related to child custody and child support as an unmarried parent, contact the DuPage County parentage lawyers at Farooqi & Husain Law Office. Call 630-909-9114 to arrange a consultation today.



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