In most cases in which a child is born to unwed parents in Illinois, only the mother is a legal parent of the child and only her name will automatically appear on the child’s birth certificate. Actions must be taken by one or both parents to establish legal paternity for the child’s father. Even if you are no longer married or unsure of the future of your relationship, there are benefits both to the father and to the child to establishing a legal parent-child relationship.
Benefits to the Father and the Child for Establishing Paternity in Illinois
The benefits of a positive relationship between a father and a child are well established. However, there are certain legal benefits that each is entitled to with legally recognized paternity.
Benefits to the child include:
- Eligible for the father’s life and health insurance benefits
- Access to the father’s Social Security and veterans’ benefits, when applicable
- Access to the father’s medical information
- Eligible for inheritance upon the death of the father
Benefits to the father include:
- Rights to request parenting time
- Rights to request decision-making responsibility for the child
- Sole custody and parental rights if the mother dies
Even if you are already financially supporting the child, establishing paternity gives the child these crucial extra benefits and ensures a legal role for you in the child’s future. Our attorneys can help you determine the best way for you to establish paternity.
Ways Paternity Is Established in Illinois
A common way to establish paternity is through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form, which can be signed by both parents at the hospital after the birth of the child or at a later time. This form should only be used if the parents are sure who the father is. Upon filling out the form, it must be submitted to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Paternity can also be established through an administrative paternity order or a court order after a paternity hearing is held. These last two ways typically involve a DNA test to confirm paternity.
DuPage County Paternity Attorneys
There are many benefits to both the father and a child for establishing paternity. At Calabrese Associates, P.C., our Naperville attorneys for paternity cases can help legally establish your parent-child relationship and with many other types of family law cases. For questions about establishing paternity or taking the first steps in your case, call our office at 630-393-3111 to set up your initial consultation.