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How is Paternity Established in Illinois?

 Posted on June 30, 2021 in Divorce

dupage county paternity lawyerPaternity – the state of being someone’s father – may seem more straightforward than it actually is. Some men strive to avoid being seen as a child’s father, as this comes with responsibilities like child support, while other men have to work to prove that they are the father of a child so they can be involved in his or her life. Whichever side you find yourself on, it is important to understand how paternity is established and treated within Illinois law. 

How is Paternity Established? 

 Paternity tests are the most famous method of establishing paternity, as they are often dramatized on television. However, there are several other methods under Illinois law by which you can become the legal father of a child. 

  •  You formally adopted a child.
  • A court paternity case found you to be the father.

  • You were married to the child’s mother at the time the child was conceived. 

  • You signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage.

A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage (VAP) is a formal legal document that establishes legal paternity. Even if a genetic test later shows that you are not the child’s father, once you have signed a VAP and 60 days have passed, your legal paternity cannot be changed. 

How Does Paternity Affect Child Support? 

If it is unclear whether a man is the father of a child, Illinois Child Support Services may require a process that will establish paternity, and both the mother and father will be involved in his process via an initial interview. Even if you are sure you are not the father of the child, if you are the alleged father and you do not attend the required interview, you may be declared the father by default. 

A court can order DNA tests to establish paternity, but they will not necessarily do so. Once Child Support Services has made the decision regarding paternity, either parent has a very brief period of time during which they can file an appeal. 

Once the paternity of a child is established, a legal father can be required to pay child support, including any child support that is owed from the past. However, paternity also allows a father the right to request parental responsibilities and parenting time, creating the opportunity to have a relationship with the child. 

Consult a DuPage County Family Lawyer

If you need help establishing whether or not you are the father of a child, or understanding what your responsibilities as a father may be, you should meet with a knowledgeable Wheaton, IL family attorney. Call the Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. today at 630-462-9500 and get a confidential consultation to discuss your rights and responsibilities under Illinois law. 





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