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DuPage County paternity attorneyIf you are an unmarried mother who is expecting a child, you probably have several questions and concerns. If your pregnancy was unexpected, or if you are no longer in a relationship with your baby’s father, you may wonder whether you should tell the father about the pregnancy or list him on your baby’s birth certificate. You may also wonder if you will be entitled to child support or if your child’s father will have a right to spend time with the child after he or she is born. The term “paternity” refers to a father’s legal relationship to his child. There are several benefits to establishing paternity in Illinois.

Paternity of a Child for an Unmarried Father

When a married woman has a child, the law presumes the woman’s husband to be the father. The couple does not need to take extra steps to establish paternity before writing the father’s name on the birth certificate. If a mother is not married, there is no presumption about the child’s father. Paternity or legal parentage must be established by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. Paternity may also be established through the courts or via an administrative process through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Effects of Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity opens several avenues for you and your child’s father. Raising a child on your own can be extremely difficult personally and financially. Once you establish paternity, you will be able to file a petition for child support. Having extra income in the form of child support can be a huge advantage to you and your child. Establishing paternity also means that the father will be entitled to visitation or “parenting time” if he chooses to petition the court and request it. 

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DuPage County paternity attorneyUnmarried couples who have a child together face a significantly different set of challenges than married couples with children. When a mother who is married gives birth, her husband is automatically presumed to be the child’s father. However, when an unmarried mother gives birth, this presumption does not exist. The father will need to take steps to establish his legal relationship to the child, called establishing paternity. There are numerous benefits to establishing paternity for both the parents and the child. Read on to learn about these advantages and the steps that must be followed to establish paternity in Illinois.

Children Gain Many Valuable Resources When Paternity Is Established

Until the legal relationship between a child and father is confirmed, the child is not eligible for a number of important benefits. Once paternity has been established, the child will have advantages such as:

  • Inheritance rights

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Children tend to do their best when they are supported and loved by both parents - that includes emotional, mental, physical, developmental, and financial assistance. The support system is typically built in when born to parents who are married; the child usually spends time with each parent, and even if a divorce occurs, the child will likely continue to have the support they need. What happens, though, when the parents are unmarried at the time of the child's birth? How, then, is paternity established, and how does the state of Illinois ensure the child is receiving the support they need?

The truth is, things can become a little more complicated. There may be questions as to whether the alleged father is, in fact, the child's biological parent. Until there is an answer, the child may lack the support that they need from one or even both parents. How can you keep this from happening to your child? First, you can ensure that you have worked to establish paternity. Second, you can seek child support, parenting time, and an allocation of parental responsibilities. Learn more about this process, including how the state of Illinois establishes paternity, with help from the following information.

Establishing Paternity - The Basics

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How Do You Establish Paternity in Illinois?

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:

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