Illinois parentage law recognizes that relationships between people can be complicated and unpredictable. When there is a question regarding the parentage of a child who is born to unmarried parents, there is a procedure for establishing who is the father of the child.
Although the stereotypical notion of establishing paternity often comes in the form of a mother who needs to obtain child support, many times a man who believes a child is his son or daughter is eager to have a relationship with that child and be actively involved in his or her life. Legally establishing paternity can benefit everyone and an experienced family law attorney can help.
Methods of Establishing Paternity
For a married couple in Illinois, establishing paternity is easy – the husband is presumed to be the child’s father and can simply have his name written on the birth certificate. For unmarried parents, however, is it a little more complicated.
After the child is born, if both parents are present and willing, they may voluntarily sign a form called the “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity.” This is a legally binding form that permanently establishes the paternity of a child, so both partners should take signing this document seriously.
If there is a dispute over who is the child’s father, there are two options. First, paternity can be established by an order from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The second method of establishing paternity is through an Illinois family court using DNA samples. The DNA is taken from the child and the alleged father and then assessed in a laboratory. The DNA test is usually a non-invasive cheek swab.
Benefits of Paternity
An unmarried couple who is happy together and cannot imagine separating may feel as though they do not need to establish paternity. However, relationships often do not last forever and the rigors of raising a child can stress even strong relationships. Both partners would be wise to establish paternity to protect against unforeseen future events.
There are several reasons why it is a good idea to establish paternity, even for unmarried couples who are in a committed relationship when the child is born:
- Paternity creates a financial responsibility for a child. This means that, no matter what happens with the parent’s relationship, the parents can petition each other for child support if necessary. Although fathers are generally the parent who pays child support, it is increasingly common for fathers to have the majority of parental responsibilities for a child and to petition mothers for child support.
- Fathers who establish paternity have legal rights to their children. Important decision-making responsibilities, parenting time, and access to important information regarding the child are all potentially available to fathers in Illinois.
- Children who have relationships with their fathers are more likely to succeed in all aspects of life. Establishing paternity can benefit the child immensely and provide stability and support.
Contact a DuPage County Paternity Lawyer
A relationship with a child is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling things a father can experience. Establishing paternity is a crucial first step when pursuing your rights and privileges as a father, and an experienced Hinsdale paternity attorney with [[title]] can help you every step of the way. Contact our offices today to schedule a free initial consultation and find out what you need to do to be involved in your child’s life. Call us at 630-920-8855.