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What Are the Benefits of Establishing Paternity for a Child?

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IL family lawyerAccording to Illinois law, if a child’s parents are married at the time of birth, the mother’s spouse will be presumed to be the child’s legal parent. However, there are many situations where a child’s parents may be unmarried, and in these cases, paternity will need to be legally established before a man will be recognized as the child’s legal father. This can often be done fairly easily, but some cases may involve complex legal issues, and either or both parents may need to work with a family law attorney to ensure that their rights and their child’s best interests will be protected.

Benefits of Paternity for Children and Parents

If a child’s parents are unmarried, but they agree that a man is the child’s biological father, the parents can fill out and sign a form known as a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP). This form can usually be obtained from the hospital where a child was born, but it may also be available at a county clerk’s office or the Illinois Department of Human Services, and a VAP can be completed and signed at any time during the child’s life.

If either parent is uncertain about the identity of the child’s biological father, other procedures may be used to confirm the genetic relationship between a parent and child and legally establish paternity. Parents may agree to work with the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) to conduct genetic testing, or either parent may file a petition in family court to establish paternity. During court proceedings, DNA testing will usually be ordered, and once the identity of the child’s biological father is confirmed, an order of paternity will be issued.

Establishing paternity can provide multiple benefits for a child. From an emotional standpoint, understanding their roots and family history can provide a child with a better sense of identity. The child will be able to access family medical history, ensuring that they can receive the proper medical care. They will be able to receive an inheritance from their legal parent, as well as benefits through a parent such as insurance coverage or Social Security.

After establishing paternity, the parents will be able to address matters related to child custody, including the allocation of decision-making responsibilities and schedules for parenting time. A legal parent will also have the obligation to provide child support. By establishing paternity, parents can ensure that they will each be able to maintain a relationship with the child and that the child will have the financial resources to meet their ongoing needs.

Contact a Will County Paternity Lawyer

If you are an unmarried parent, the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help you take the right steps to establish legal paternity for your child. We will make sure you understand your rights, and we will provide you with representation in any legal proceedings, ensuring that your child’s best interests will be protected. Contact our Joliet family law attorneys at 815-666-1285 to set up a free consultation today.


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