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Establishing Paternity

After a child is born, there are any number of things to think about. Parents need to decide on a name, add the child to health insurance, decide whether or not they will be stay-at-home parents, and go about caring for a newborn. For unmarried parents, an additional step they have to consider is establishing paternity.

What Is Paternity?

Paternity, which is also known as parentage in Illinois, is an established legal relationship between a father and a child. Paternity can be established in a number of ways. Paternity is assumed if:

insurance, decide whether or not they will be stay-at-home parents, and go about caring for a newborn. For unmarried parents, an additional step they have to consider is establishing paternity.

What Is Paternity?

Paternity, which is also known as parentage in Illinois, is an established legal relationship between a father and a child. Paternity can be established in a number of ways. Paternity is assumed if:

  • The parents are married at the time of a child's conception or birth;
  • If the parents were divorced less than 300 days before the child's birth; or
  • If the parent's name is on the birth certificate and the parents enter into a marriage or civil union after the child's birth, then paternity is assumed.

Paternity can also be established by a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. The acknowledgement is a form that is available from the county clerk, health department, public aid office, or online.

If none of the above circumstances exist, the court can step in to establish paternity. The mother, the child, or the father can bring the action. The court may consider genetic testing, but can opt not to consider it based on the conduct of the parent(s) and the best interests of the child, including the relationship between the child and parent, the age of the child, and the potential harm to the child if parentage is disproved.

Why Does It Matter?

Even if parents are able to successfully co-parent without paternity established, there are a number of reasons to legally establish paternity. Paternity makes parental rights and responsibilities clear. Establishing paternity provides parenting rights; it allows a father to petition the court for child custody or for a more favorable custody arrangement. For a father without custody, paternity allows him to seek visitation. It provides a legal right to have a relationship between father and child. It also ensures financial security for the child, because the custodial parent is able to seek child support from the other parent.

Paternity will ensure that a father has access to medical records and can provide medical or life insurance coverage. In addition, establishing paternity allows you to provide for your child by ensuring that he or she will have access to inheritance, Social Security, or veterans' benefits.

There are many reasons why establishing paternity may be beneficial for you or your family. If you have questions about establishing paternity in Illinois or about your parental rights and responsibilities, it's important to work with an experienced attorney to understand your rights and responsibilities. Contact the experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. for a consultation about your case today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000460HArt.+1&ActID=3638&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=100000&SeqEnd=900000

http://www.idph.state.il.us/vitalrecords/births/Pages/paternity.htm

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The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.
1776 S. Naperville Road - Building B, Suite 202
Wheaton, IL 60189

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