How Paternity Is Established in Illinois

DuPage COunty paternity lawyerPaternity is an interesting subject. When a woman gives birth to a baby, there is no question as to if that woman is the baby’s biological mother - but there is no automatic link to know who the baby’s biological father is.

Traditionally, the legal paternal rights to the baby were given to the man who was married to the baby’s mother, but in recent years more and more unmarried couples have been having children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4 percent of all babies born in the United States in 1950 were born to unmarried mothers. In 2008, about 40 percent of all babies were born to unmarried mothers. In many states - Illinois included - if the child is born to an unmarried woman, the father must legally establish his paternity before he can claim any rights to the child.

Presumed Paternity in Illinois

In the state of Illinois, a father cannot even put his name on the child’s birth certificate unless paternity has been established. The only time paternity is presumed is if the mother was married or in a civil union at the time the child was born, or if the mother was married or in a civil union within 300 days before the child was born. If neither of those situations was true, then paternity must be established.

Two Ways to Establish Paternity in Illinois

  1. Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity: This is the easiest way to establish the paternity of a child. The voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP) is a legal document that both parents complete and file with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The VAP form can be filled out at the hospital when the child is born, and the parents are filling out information for the birth certificate. Once the form is filed, then the father’s name can be added to the child’s birth certificate.

  2. Genetic Testing: Another way you can establish paternity in Illinois is through genetic testing. This can be useful if the mother or father is unsure of who the biological father of the baby is. A genetic test can be ordered by the court to be completed, which will help establish paternity for your child. Genetic testing will look at samples of blood, bone, hair, buccal cells or other tissues from your child and the alleged father to determine a link.

A Hinsdale, IL Paternity Attorney Can Help

Before you are able to collect child support or get a visitation order, paternity must be established, which is where help from a trusted DuPage County paternity lawyer is useful. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, we can help you complete the forms or testing to prove the genetic paternity of your child. Call our office today at 630-920-8855 to set up a free consultation.


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