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FAQs About Paternity in Illinois

 Posted on February 27, 2023 in Family Law

Will County paternity attorneysPaternity refers to the legal father-child relationship. The gender-neutral term "parentage" is currently used in Illinois law. However, "paternity" is still used informally, and the terms will be used interchangeably throughout this blog. 

Whether you are a mother or father, or soon will be, it is very important that you understand what your rights are responsibilities are regarding paternity.

Do I Need to Take Steps to Establish Paternity?

In Illinois, the paternity of a child is presumed in certain situations, including when the mother of the child is married to the father. If paternity is presumed, the parents can sign the child’s birth certificate and do not need to take any additional steps to verify parentage. However, if the parents are not married, paternity must be established through one of several legal avenues. Paternity can be established through a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage form or an administrative or judicial proceeding.

Does Establishing Paternity Benefit the Child?

Establishing paternity provides many benefits to the child, including access to important information such as their family medical history on the father’s side of the family. Children may be able to get health insurance or other benefits through their father. Inheritance rights are also established when paternity is established. Another crucial reason to establish paternity is to pave the way for a child support order. A father’s paternity must be established before the mother can petition the court for child support. 

However, one of the most important benefits of establishing paternity is that it promotes a father-child relationship.

What Happens if a Father Denies Paternity of a Child?

If a father denies that he is the biological parent of the child, the court may order that the father and the child undergo DNA testing. A DNA paternity test involves taking a cell sample from the inside of the mouth. It is a non-invasive procedure using a simple cotton swab. A laboratory will analyze the DNA from the child and the father and determine if there is a biological relationship. If the father is indeed the biological father, he may be required to pay child support and take on other responsibilities.

Does Establishing Paternity Benefit the Father?

When paternity is established, the father gains the right to pursue parental responsibilities and parenting time. Parental responsibilities refers to the authority to make decisions about the child, such as where the child will go to school. Parenting time is the time a parent spends with the child. Establishing paternity does not automatically give the father parenting time or parental responsibilities, but it is the first step in securing these important rights. 

Contact Our Joliet Family Law Attorneys

The skilled Plainfield paternity lawyers at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. represent both mothers and fathers in paternity-related matters. We can help you establish paternity, establish child support, enforce child support if a parent is not paying, address parental responsibilities and parenting time, and handle other family law concerns. Call our office at 815-666-1285 for a free consultation.


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