Illinois Family Law AttorneyPaternity is the legal recognition of the father-child relationship. Establishing paternity is essential for determining the rights and responsibilities of both the father and the child. Paternity can have significant implications in various aspects of family law, including the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, and child support.

How to Legally Establish Paternity 

If a married couple has a child, the husband is presumed to be the child’s father, and paternity is established automatically. However, for unmarried couples, paternity must be established in one of several ways. Establishing paternity has significant benefits for the father, the mother, and the child.

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity in Illinois

If both parents agree on who the child’s father is, establishing paternity is easy. Couples can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form, which is available in hospitals and local health departments. Both parents must sign the form.

Paternity Action in Court

If both parents cannot agree on who the child’s father is, either parent can file a paternity action in court. In the case of a paternity action, the father and child will undergo DNA testing to prove the identity of the biological father. Paternity testing is a simple procedure in which a cotton swab is gently scraped against the inside of a person’s mouth. Cheek cells are collected on the swab and then analyzed in a laboratory.

Establishing Paternity Through the Illinois DCFS

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) can also establish paternity. This is done through the Child Support Program, which helps families establish paternity and receive child support when needed.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity is the first step toward giving a father the right to a relationship with his child and the ability to make decisions about the child’s upbringing. Once paternity is confirmed, the father has the right to ask for parenting time and parental responsibilities. Paternity establishment also gives the mother the right to request child support from the father. The amount a father pays in child support is based on the net incomes of both parents.

Finally, establishing paternity allows the child to receive certain benefits through the father, such as Social Security, veterans’ or military benefits, inheritance rights, and health insurance. It also gives the child a sense of identity and belonging.

Contact our Chicago Divorce Lawyer

Paternity is the legal relationship between a father and a child. If you want to establish the paternity of your child, you have concerns about whether you are the biological father of a child, or you have any questions about your rights as a father or mother, contact an experienced Chicago family law attorney for help. Call [[title]] at [[phone]] for a free consultation.

Read More