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How Illinois Paternity Laws Protect Fathers’ and Children’s Rights

Posted on in Divorce

paternity, Illinois paternity laws, Wheaton parentage attorney, establish paternity, 
fathers' rightsWhether their parents are married or not, children deserve to have a relationship with both their mother and father and receive the support they need from them. Illinois law recognizes this by stating that every child has a right to the “physical, mental, emotional, and financial support of his or her parents.”

In order to ensure that children have a legal relationship with both their mother and their father, and that they receive support from both parents, Illinois law allows for the establishment of paternity. Whether they are married or unmarried, parents should be aware of how these laws apply to them.

Paternity Laws in Illinois

If a child’s mother was married at the time that her child was born, her spouse is legally presumed to be the child’s parent. This also applies if a child was born within 300 days after the parents divorced, were legally separated, or had their marriage declared invalid. Notably, this applies to a “marriage, civil union, or substantially similar legal relationship,” which means that partners in same-sex marriages are the legal parents of their spouse’s children.

If parents are unmarried, there are three ways to legally establish paternity:

  • Both parents sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form in the presence of a witness.
  • The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) carries out the administrative process of establishing paternity by conducting interviews with the mother and alleged father and determining whether paternity will be acknowledged voluntarily or if genetic tests will be necessary.
  • A court hearing is held to establish paternity through the judicial process.

During the administrative or judicial processes, DNA testing will typically be used to determine whether an alleged father is the actual biological father of the child. Once paternity is legally established, the court will enter a judgment similar to that of divorce, allocating parental responsibility and parenting time between the parents and determining whether one parent is obligated to pay child support to the other parent.

If a mother is married to someone other than her child’s biological father, she and her spouse can sign a Denial of Paternity form that acknowledges that her spouse is not the child’s parent. The mother and the biological father can then sign a VAP form, or paternity can be legally established through administrative or judicial processes.

Contact a DuPage County Paternity Lawyer

If you are a father who needs to establish paternity so you can have rights to parenting time with your child, or if you are a mother who needs to ensure that your child will receive financial support from their father, the skilled and experienced family law attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights. Contact a Wheaton parentage attorney at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/FormsBrochures/Pages/hfs3282.aspx

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=3638&ChapterID=59

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