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The legal relationship between a father and his child is known as paternity in Illinois. When a child’s parents are married, legal action is not necessary to establish paternity. However, if their parents are not married, a court order or formal document is necessary for the establishment of paternity. If possible, both parents should start the process of proving paternity as soon as possible.
A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity Form
In Illinois, the easiest method of establishing paternity is for both parents to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. An Administrative Paternity Order by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Child Support Services, or a court Order of Paternity are other options. In the event it is unclear who the father may be, parties should not sign the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity.
Since signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity is legally establishing paternity, genetic testing is not required and a father is eligible to ask the court for custody or visitation. It is important to note that the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity does not automatically grant a father custody or visitation rights.
What to Do If the Alleged Father Does Not Cooperate
In some cases, an alleged father may not wish to establish paternity, making the situation difficult for the mother. If the alleged father does not cooperate, there is certain information the mother must share
to establish paternity.
This information includes facts about her pregnancy, relationship with the alleged father, a picture of the child and the alleged father if available, the alleged father’s home address, and whether or not the alleged father supported the child financially or admitted that the child was his.
DNA tests may also be given to the mother, alleged parent, and child. Since these tests are reliable, very few paternity cases make it to trial.
How a Child Benefits from Paternity Establishment
Establishing paternity can make a positive difference in a child’s life. It can provide them with the same privileges to as a child who was born to married parents. Some examples of these privileges include support from both parents, access to family records, medical and life insurance coverage, inheritance rights, and the emotional benefits of having a relationship with both parents.
Consult an Experienced DuPage County Family Lawyer
If you had a child out of wedlock and would like to establish paternity in Illinois, reach out to our highly skilled DuPage County family law lawyers. Call us at 630-920-8855 today.
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