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DuPage County family law attorney paternity

In today’s world, it is becoming increasingly common for parents to have children while they are unmarried. However, this can lead to issues when it comes to establishing the paternity of that child. Establishing paternity is an important step in securing the same parental rights and responsibilities for the father of a child that are not automatically granted when parents are unmarried. Most of the time, paternity cases are aimed toward proving the paternity of a child, though in some cases, disproving the paternity of a child can be just as important. The easiest way to deny the paternity of a child is to sign the Denial of Parentage form at the hospital when the child is born; however, this does not always mean you are off the hook for parental responsibilities.

Fighting the Presumption of Paternity if You Are Married

In the state of Illinois, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if he was married or in a civil union with the mother at the time the child was born or during the 300 days prior to the child’s birth. This is true even if the child is not the man’s biological child, which is where issues can arise. If the presumed father is not the child’s biological father, he can sign a Denial of Parentage form, stating that he is not the father. However, he will still be considered the child’s legal parent and held responsible for child support unless the biological father signs a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form confirming that he is the child’s biological father. 

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Lombard, IL parentage attorney

When a child is born to a married couple, both spouses will be considered the child's legal parents. However, when a child is born to an unmarried mother, or when the identity of the child's father may be in doubt, it may be necessary to establish the child's legal parentage. Establishing paternity is important for the child, but it also benefits the father and mother too. For example, legal paternity may need to be established before a court determines parenting time, parental responsibilities, and child support. If you need to address issues related to your child's parentage, speaking with an experienced family law attorney can guide you through your next steps and help you establish paternity.

How Is Paternity Established?

Paternity is the legal establishment of the identity of a child’s father. Simply writing a person’s name on a birth certificate does not necessarily indicate paternity. In fact, paternity can be established in a variety of ways, including:

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DuPage County paternity lawyer

No matter what kind of relationship you share with your child’s mother or what your living arrangements will be after your child is born, it is important to understand a father’s rights and how to avoid jeopardizing yours. If you wish to be involved and have a say over parental matters in the future, the first step is to be aware that in Illinois, you are only considered the legal father if you are married to--or have entered into a civil union with--the mother at the time of birth. This means that your relationship with your child from the moment he or she is born will greatly revolve around where you stand legally on paper. 

Immediate Actions You Can Take to Protect Your Rights

There are some actions you can take to establish paternity in order to make sure your rights as a father are not violated. Below are some of the first steps in becoming legally recognized as the father of your child: 

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Posted on in Paternity

denial of paternity, paternity law, Illinois family law attorneyUnlike decades ago, when most children were born into the "traditional" family – where the biological mother and father were married – in today’s society, there are a variety of different familial scenarios into which a child may be born.  As such, there is great deal of information available when it comes to legally establishing paternity for a child, both from a mother’s point of view and from a father’s point of view. One topic that is not commonly discussed is how a may legally deny paternity.

The law in Illinois regarding paternity is an interesting one, as it must account for a number of potential situations. If a woman is not married to the child’s father when she conceives or gives birth, then there are certain steps the parents must take in order to legally establish paternity of the child. Under the law, there are three acceptable ways to establish paternity:

  • Both parents must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) document in order for the father’s name to be placed on the child’s birth certificate. By signing a VAP, the father is not only acknowledging paternity, but also acknowledging that he understands that he could be held legally responsible for child support, medical insurance, and medical expenses for the child;
  • If the father has not signed a VAP, the State of Illinois& Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Child Support Services can enter an Administrative Paternity Order; or
  • An Order of Paternity can also be entered into by a judge.

If a woman is married at the time she conceives or gives birth to a child, then the state says her husband is the legal father of that child.  The state makes this assumption whether or not the husband actually is the biological father of the child. That means unless there is some legal action which removes the husband as the child’s legal father, the state will hold him responsible for child support, medical insurance, and medical expenses. The child would also be legally entitled to a portion of the husband’s estate should he pass away.

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