When a married couple has a child in Illinois, it is assumed that the two spouses are the biological parents of the child. The same assumption is not made, however, when a child is born to unwed parents. In these cases, it must be proven that the father is the biological parent. It is important to do this soon after the child is born. Establishing paternity, and doing it early, has many benefits for the mother, father, and the child.
How to Establish Paternity
Unfortunately, simply including the father’s name on the birth certificate is not enough to establish paternity. After the birth of a child, both parents may voluntarily establish paternity by signing the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. If there is a dispute about paternity, each party has two choices.
The first option is to establish paternity through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. If this agency proves paternity, they will file an Administrative Paternity Order indicating who is the biological father of the child.
Either party may also petition a family court to establish paternity. In these cases, DNA samples are used to establish which party is the child’s biological father. After reviewing the test results, a judge will then issue an Order of Paternity accordingly.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
People do not always think it is necessary to establish paternity, particularly if the parents are in a committed and loving relationship. However, formally establishing paternity is important, in case disputes arise in the future.
In the event that the mother and father are not together, now or in the future, a paternity order will hold the father financially responsible for the child. This means that mothers can petition the court to request child support to help with the child’s everyday expenses.
Although establishing paternity gives the mother the right to seek child support, there are many benefits for fathers that wish to establish paternity, as well. Once paternity is proven, the father will have legal rights to the child. The mother will be unable to take certain actions, such as putting the child up for adoption without the father’s consent. In the event that the parents are not together, a father can also petition the court for child custody or visitation time after paternity has been established.
The child will also benefit greatly when paternity is established. In most cases, it is in a child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents, and proving paternity can provide them with that.
Our Illinois Family Lawyers can Help with Paternity Disputes
Having a baby should be a joyous time but sometimes, paternity disputes can take away from the excitement of it all. If you need to establish paternity, our skilled Hinsdale family lawyers at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can help. We will guide you through the process of establishing paternity, and fight to ensure that your rights are upheld. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.