Unexpectedly finding out that you are a father of a young child can be one of the greatest shocks a person ever goes through. Perhaps you heard something through the rumor mill about an ex-girlfriend; perhaps a picture appeared on social media of an ex with a young child who looks remarkably like you did when you were younger. Whatever the circumstances, if you find yourself wondering whether it is too late to establish paternity of a child, you should learn more about your options from an Illinois paternity lawyer.
How is Paternity Established in Illinois?
In most cases, parents establish paternity either by being married at the time of the child’s conception or birth, or by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form at the hospital when the child is born. However, if you just found out that you may be the father of a child, you will need to petition a court to establish paternity. This will involve submitting a DNA sample so a laboratory can compare it to the DNA of the child. Once a match has been established, you can begin petitioning the court for things like parenting time so you can get to know your child. You will also be required to financially provide support for your child.
What Are the Benefits of Paternity?
It can be an understandably difficult decision – if you have not been involved in your child’s life until now, is it a wise move to establish paternity, knowing you will be financially responsible for a child you may not know at all? It is important to keep in mind that establishing paternity has many benefits for you and your child besides having the law formally recognize your relationship. Once you are legally recognized as a child’s father, you can petition for parenting time and parental responsibilities for that child. Furthermore, the child is entitled to benefits from you, such as inheritance rights, health insurance coverage from your workplace, and more.
Can I Take Action Against Someone Who Hid My Child From Me?
Although it can seem very unfair to a father who has just found out about a child he did not know existed, a woman does not have a legal obligation to inform the man -she believes is the father of her child or of the child’s existence. You cannot sue your child’s mother or take other legal action to punish her for not telling you about the child. However, in cases like this, you will generally not be required to pay retroactive child support. Your financial obligation for your child will begin from the time paternity is established.
Schedule a Consultation with a Wheaton, IL Paternity Lawyer
If you recently found out that you are a father and are interested in becoming a part of your child’s life, contact a DuPage County, IL paternity attorney for assistance. At MKFM Law, we understand that these matters are sensitive and personal. We handle each case with the utmost confidentiality, so you can have confidence that your interests are protected and that you get the best chance of a favorable outcome. Call 630-665-7300 today.