The legal relationship between a father and his child is called “paternity.” In Illinois, paternity can influence everything from child support to adoption. Whether you are a mother, father, grandparent, or another important individual in a child’s life, it is important to understand how paternity affects family law issues in Illinois. Read on to learn answers to some of the most common legal questions about paternity.
How is Paternity Established?
Per Illinois law, paternity is assumed in certain cases. If a married woman gives birth, her husband is presumed to be the child’s father. The father does not need to do anything else to establish paternity. However, the same is not true for unmarried parents. Unmarried parents may establish paternity through one of three legal avenues:
- Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) – The VAP is a document that parents can sign at the hospital where the child is born to voluntarily establish paternity. The document is also available online and at the County Clerks’s office.
- Court Order – Either parent may petition the court for an order of paternity. DNA testing may be necessary to confirm that the alleged father is indeed the child’s biological father.
- Administrative Paternity Order – The Illinois Healthcare and Family Services Department of Child Support Services may establish paternity.
Why Do I Need to Establish Paternity?
Establishing paternity confirms a child’s biological and legal relationship with his or her father. This gives the child access to the child’s inheritance, veterans benefits, and health insurance. Establishing paternity is also a prerequisite to receiving child support from a father. Perhaps more importantly, establishing paternity gives the father the right to seek parenting time (visitation) and parental responsibilities (legal custody).
What if I Find Out I Am Not the Father, But I Signed a VAP?
If you signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, but you later found out you were not actually the child’s father, you may be able to rescind the VAP. You and the other parent will need to sign a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity within 60 days.
Contact a Kane County Paternity Lawyer
Paternity is the legal relationship between a father and a child. Establishing paternity gives a mother the right to pursue child support from a father. It also gives the father the right to seek custody of his child. If you have any questions or concerns about paternity, reach out to the knowledgeable Kane County family law attorneys at MKFM Law. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation.