The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Initial Consultations via ZOOM Available

Geneva family law attorney paternity

When a child is born to parents who are unmarried, the father does not yet have any legal rights to the child, unlike the mother. Many parents, especially fathers, do not realize that there are certain steps that they must take to gain their legal parental rights and to ensure the paternity of their child is established. Until the paternity of a child is established, no orders pertaining to parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, or child support will be entered. Paternity can be established in a variety of ways, but the situation is not always as easy as just completing paperwork. A knowledgeable paternity lawyer will be able to help make the process a little easier.

Uncontested Declaration of Paternity

Before a father can establish his legal rights, he must first ensure that his paternity is established over his child. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but the easiest way to establish paternity is by using a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form. This form can be filled out right in the hospital after the child is born and only requires both the mother's and the father’s signatures to be valid. Once you sign the VAP, you are able to have the father’s name put on the child’s birth certificate.

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Batavia family law attorney paternity

When you are not married and you have a child in Illinois, establishing the paternity of your child can be more complicated than it is for a couple who is married. When a couple is married at the time the child is born, the man to whom the mother is married is presumed to be the child’s legal father. When a couple is not married, there are extra steps that must be taken to establish the paternity of their child. For many people, establishing the paternity of their child is a sentimental act, but it also carries many legal benefits for everyone, including the mother and father. For instance, fathers in Illinois do not have any rights to parenting time or parental decision-making responsibilities unless their paternity has been established to their child. Paternity cases can become complicated, but an experienced Illinois paternity lawyer can guide you through the process.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

When you establish the paternity of a child, this change can affect not only the child but also the mother and father, too. In many cases, parents may not think of some of the benefits of making the legal connection between the child and his or her father. Here are some of the biggest benefits that establishing paternity provides:

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Batavia paternity attorney

When a child is born to two people who are married, in a civil union, or who were married or in a civil union within 300 days prior in the state of Illinois, those two people are legally presumed to be that child’s parents, even if that is not necessarily true. A child’s legal parents are required to provide for the child’s well-being, including providing for their financial needs. If the parents ever get divorced, the father has a legal right to decision-making responsibilities and parenting time, as well as an obligation to pay monthly child support. If the father finds out that he is not the father of the child, he can file to disprove the paternity of the child, which may relieve him of his parental responsibilities.

Disproving Paternity While Married

If the father is married when the child is born, the legal relationship is automatically established when the child is born. While this can be a convenience, it also means that the father is forced to take legal action to disprove the paternity of the child if the child is not his or her biological child. Genetic testing is used to determine whether or not a child is biologically related to an alleged father and is typically ordered by the court when a person files to have paternity disproven. Once the father becomes aware of the fact that he is not the child’s biological father, he must take immediate action, or the judge could deny his petition to disprove paternity.

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paternity-test-DNAIn the state of Illinois, a man is only legally presumed to be the father of a child if the mother was married or in a civil union with him when the child was born or within 300 days before the child was born. If the mother was not married when the child was born, the man she names as the father of the child is then referred to as the alleged father. That man will only become the legal father after one of three things happens:

  • Both parents complete and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form when or soon after the child is born;
  • An administrative paternity order is entered into by a child support agency; or
  • An order of paternity has been entered in court by a judge.

If the father contests the paternity of the child, the mother will then have to file a paternity suit that seeks to establish a parent-child relationship between the father and the child. Once you enter into a paternity suit, the judge will more-than-likely order the mother, the alleged father and the child to submit to genetic testing.

Understanding Genetic Testing

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Posted on in Paternity

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,When a child is born, it is automatically known who the child’s mother is--this is not the case for the child’s father. In Illinois, if a couple is not married or in a civil union when the child is born, the father is not legally considered the father of the child and his name cannot be added to the birth certificate until paternity is established. The only time there is a legal presumption of paternity is if the mother and the father of the child were married or in a civil union at the time of the child’s birth, or were married within 300 days before the child was born. Establishing paternity is important for both the parents of the child and the child itself.

The Importance of Determining Paternity

When a child’s paternity is in question, the father does not have any legal rights when it comes to the child. In order for a father to have rights to parenting time or parenting decisions, like decisions about the child’s healthcare or education, paternity must be established for the child.

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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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