When a married couple has children after they are legally wedded, their roles as parents are not typically called into question. If they later get divorced, their parenting rights and responsibilities are then divided up in the divorce settlement. If one parent violates the terms of the divorce settlement, the other parent will have ways to enforce the agreement.
If a child is born to unmarried parents, this can be more complicated. A single woman giving birth is automatically considered the child’s mother. However, the father of that child will need to prove that he is the father. If you are single, about to become a father, and want to make sure your parental rights are protected, a Kane County, IL paternity lawyer can explain the process of establishing paternity.
How Can I Establish Paternity?
Even though an unmarried father is not automatically recognized as a parent, he can legally prove his parental relationship. In Illinois, this is known as “establishing parentage”, and can be done in several ways:
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity: Both parents must fill out this form. It needs to be signed, witnessed, and filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). This form can be completed in the hospital when the child is born, avoiding any court processes. It can also be completed any time after. Whenever this form is filed, the father’s name will be added to the child’s birth certificate.
Administrative Order of Paternity: This type of order is established by the HFS and entered into court. The Child Support Services can order the alleged father to undergo genetic testing to establish paternity.
Judicial Paternity Order: Like an Administrative Order, this is essentially a paternity hearing filed with the court. Again, this is generally done through genetic testing.
If I Know I Will Pay Child Support, Why Should I Establish Paternity?
Even if you have open communication with your child’s mother there are several reasons why you would want to be legally recognized as the father:
It will ensure your rights to parental responsibilities
It will make sure your child has access to important medical information about you.
Your child will be able to inherit from you and be eligible for death benefits, including any pensions, insurance policies, social security funds, and military/VA benefits you may have.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a St. Charles, IL Paternity Lawyer
If you need help establishing paternity, call [[title]] at [[phone]] to schedule a free consultation. An experienced Kane County, IL divorce attorney will be able to answer questions and advise you on how to move forward.