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Should I Establish Paternity in Illinois?

 Posted on April 03, 2024 in Family Law

DuPage County, IL paternity lawyerIf you are an unmarried father in Illinois, you likely have questions and concerns about your legal rights and those of your child. Understanding your rights as a father, or your paternity rights, can be especially important if the parents’ relationship is strained and the mother is reluctant to involve the father in the child’s life.

Contacting an experienced family lawyer in Illinois who can help you understand paternity laws is the best first step to take. The attorney will discuss your legal options with you, such as making sure your relationship with your child is recognized in the eyes of the law. This is called “establishing paternity.”

Why Should Someone Establish Paternity?

A new father might consider establishing paternity to secure his legal rights, such as child custody and parenting time. But paternity also grants certain rights to the child, including:

  • Inheritance

  • Health and life insurance benefits

  • Social security benefits from a disabled or deceased father

  • Veteran’s benefits (if applicable)

Do I Need to Establish Paternity?

Not all unmarried fathers need to establish paternity. According to Illinois law, If a woman gives birth while she is in any kind of legal relationship, such as a civil union, the law automatically assumes her partner is the father. Similarly, if a woman gives birth within 300 days of entering into a marriage or civil union, the state recognizes her partner as the father and there is no need to take any steps to establish paternity.

If the father was not in a legal relationship with the mother within 300 days of the baby’s birth, however, he needs to establish paternity. Here are three things to know about establishing paternity in Illinois.

There Are 3 Ways to Establish Paternity

Paternity can be established in Illinois in one of three ways:

  • The father and the mother can both sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP), which is then filed with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. A VAP can usually be obtained at the hospital where the baby is born.

  • Child Support Services (CSS) can conduct an investigation in some cases, which can include an interview with the father and a DNA test. CSS will then enter an Administrative Paternity Order declaring the paternity of the father.

  • The father or mother can file a petition with the court to recognize the father’s paternity. The court may order a DNA test for confirmation of fatherhood.

Contact a Kane County, Illinois Paternity Lawyer

Hiring the right attorney to discuss your options as a father is crucial to understanding whether you should establish paternity, how you should establish paternity, and your rights under the law. Contact the experienced St. Charles, Illinois family law attorneys at Goostree Law Group for a free consultation on establishing paternity. Call 630-364-4046 today.

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