Paternity or parentage is the legal relationship of a father to his child. Establishing paternity is important because it establishes the rights and duties of both the mother and father to their child. Fathers cannot petition the court for parenting time or parental responsibilities until paternity is established. Similarly, mothers cannot ask the court for a child support order until paternity is established.
In Illinois, there are several ways that paternity can be established, including a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, court order, or administrative order. In some cases, DNA testing is needed to confirm paternity.
Genetic Paternity Testing
DNA testing is often used when parties cannot agree on the identity of the child’s father or when the father has denied paternity. In Illinois, a court action can be filed to establish paternity, and DNA testing is one way that a judge may require to determine parentage. A sample of the alleged father’s DNA is collected as well as a sample from the child.
The terms “genetic testing” or “DNA testing” may sound intimidating, but the process is relatively simple. A cotton swab is used to gently scrape the inside of the father’s mouth. This collects cheek cells from which DNA may be extracted. The same process is conducted on the child in question. DNA from the supposed father is compared to the child’s DNA in a laboratory. DNA tests are highly accurate and will compare genetic markers between the child and the alleged father. If a certain number of genetic markers match, then DNA testing can be used to show paternity with up to 99 percent accuracy.
Situations in Which DNA Paternity Testing May Be Necessary
Parentage is presumed when a married couple has a child. The mother’s husband can put his name on the child’s birth certificate and take on all of the rights and responsibilities of being a father without additional steps. However, DNA testing may be needed in the following situations:
The mother was having sexual relations with multiple partners around the time of conception
A man claims to be the child’s father, but the mother doubts his paternity
The mother claims that a man is the child’s father but the alleged father denies it
The mother is married but the child’s father may be an affair partner
The identity of the child’s father is unknown or uncertain
Contact Our Will County Paternity Lawyer
Parentage and paternity matters can be complex and sensitive in nature. The skilled Joliet family law attorneys at The Foray Firm can provide the legal assistance you need. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 and set up a confidential consultation to learn how we can help you.