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What Do I Need to Do to Establish Paternity for My Child in Illinois?

Posted on in Family Law

Crystal Lake IL paternity lawyerThe composition of the average American family has changed drastically over the years. According to the Pew Research Center, one in four children today lives with parents who are not married. One of the biggest reasons for this is an increase in the number of babies born to unmarried mothers. In 1970, only 26 out of 1,000 births were to unmarried mothers, but in 2016, 42 out of every 1,000 births were to unmarried women. Having a child outside of marriage is common these days, but it can come with its own legal hurdles. If your child is born and you are not married when it happens, you may need to take extra steps to establish paternity for your child.

Voluntarily Establishing Paternity

In Illinois, the paternity of a child is only legally presumed if the mother was married at the time of the child’s birth or within the 300 days prior to the child’s birth. If she was, the man the mother was married to is presumed to be the child’s biological father. If the mother is unmarried when she gives birth, steps must be taken to establish paternity for the child. The easiest way to do this is through a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, or VAP, for short.

A VAP is a form that the parents must fill out, sign, and either return to hospital staff who will turn it in to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, or take the form home and send it in at a later date. The form must be signed by both the mother and the father in order to have the father’s name and information added to the child’s birth certificate.

When Paternity is Contested

If either parent refuses to sign the VAP, then you will have to go about establishing paternity through a different method. There are various ways to do this, but generally, you can request genetic testing to be completed to prove paternity. To do this, the mother, alleged father, and child must all give a small sample of their DNA so it can be compared to determine whether or not the alleged father is the child’s biological father. If the DNA is a match, an administrative or judicial order may be issued declaring legal paternity.

Contact Our McHenry County Paternity Attorneys Today

The process of filing for paternity for your child can be long and complicated, especially if your child’s other parent does not willingly sign the VAP. If you are going through a contested paternity case or you simply have questions about establishing paternity, you should speak with a knowledgeable Crystal Lake, IL paternity lawyer. At Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, we can help you determine your best course of action, and we will be by your side every step of the way. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today at 815-338-3838.





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