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How Do You Establish Paternity in Illinois?

 Posted on October 09, 2015 in Paternity

paternityPaternity is not always a straightforward process. If someone is found to be the father of a child they will have the duty to pay child support, and will probably have the right to have regular parenting time with the child. Whatever side of the case you are on, you need to understand what happens in paternity cases.

How Paternity Can Be Established

Usually being a father is a matter of biology. But, sometimes who the father of a child is not clear. Under Illinois law you are considered the legal father of a child if:

  • You were married to the mother at the time of conception;
  • You signed a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity;
  • You legally adopted a child; or
  • You were found to be the father in a court paternity case.

When you sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, you only have 60 days after it is signed and notarized to try and rescind it. After that, it cannot be changed, even if a DNA test later shows you not to be the biological father.

Child Support Services and the Courts

Child Support Services may perform an administrative process to establish paternity in some cases. Both the mother and the alleged father will be notified of an interview to establish paternity. If the alleged father fails to attend the interview, he may be declared to be the father by default. After Child Support Services has made a decision, both parents have a very small window to file an appeal to the courts.

Child Support Services or the mother can also file a petition with the court to establish paternity. Like all court cases, the respondent, in this case the alleged father, must be served notice of the case and is responsible for filing a response. Courts can order DNA tests to help establish paternity.

If the alleged father fails to respond to the court case, he may be declared the father by default. Once paternity is established, a child support case can be opened. In Illinois, a father may be held liable for back child support to the child's birth, but the facts of every case are unique.

Another consequence of a finding of paternity is it gives the father the right to request court ordered parenting time. Child support amounts and parenting time are usually closely linked. The less parenting time a parent exercises, the higher child support payments often are.

If you have questions about paternity, support, custody, or any family law issues, you need to meet with a knowledgeable DuPage County family law lawyer. Call the Stogsdill Law Firm today at 630-462-9500.



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