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Establishing Paternity in Illinois

Posted on in Family Law

paternity in Illinois, Crystal Lake Family Law AttorneysA father has rights and responsibilities to his child, and therefore, establishing paternity can be important when discussing issues of child support and seeking decision making responsibility or parenting time with the child. Paternity of a child can be determined in different ways in Illinois, and can sometimes depend on a man's relationship to the mother at the time of the child's birth.

In today's world, a DNA test can prove whether or not a man is the biological father of a child, and in many situations, this is all that is required to prove paternity. However, legally, a man may be considered a child's father even in the absence of a DNA test if other conditions are met. There are four main ways to establish legal paternity in Illinois:

  • If a man is married to or in a civil union with the mother when a child is born, he is presumed to be the father of the child;

  • If the parents are unmarried and not in a civil union then the man signs a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form for the child, a court enters an Order of Paternity, or an Administrative Order is entered by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services – Child Support Services.

If a married man wishes to deny paternity to a child born to his wife, he can only do so if his wife and the biological father of the child sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form declaring the other man to be the child's father. Without the biological father taking on the paternal responsibilities, the husband is still legally the child's father, even if his wife claims another man as the biological father. This means that in a divorce, the husband can be ordered to pay child support and other costs associated with the child.

For unmarried men who wish to sign the acknowledgement form establishing paternity, it is important to be sure they are the biological father of the child. While the acknowledgement can be revoked within a certain time frame, after the time has passed it can only be revoked through a court order, which may be a long and difficult process.

A man seeking to hold on to his parental rights should consider registering with the Putative Fathers Registry. Registration may ensure that if a child's mother wants to give up the child for adoption or wishes another man to adopt the child, the registered putative father gets notice in order to file any objections to the adoption.

Let Us Assist You

If you are seeking parenting time or significant decision making authority with regards to a child and would like to establish paternity, contact the compassionate and experienced Crystal Lake, Illinois family law attorneys at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC for a consultation.




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