How to Establish Paternity in Illinois
Paternity is a term used to describe the relationship between a father and his child. Legal paternity is established by law, and it gives a mother the right to seek child support from her child's father. Additionally, a father then has the right to seek custody and visitation.
In Illinois, when a married woman gives birth, her husband is the baby’s father. Or, if a mother is married at the time of conception, her ex-husband is assumed to be the child’s father. In both scenarios, a husband or ex-husband’s name is placed on a birth certificate and is therefore considered a baby’s legal father.
However, when a mother is not married at the time she gives birth, a father is not automatically considered a legal father — even if the couple is in a long-term relationship and there is no doubt the man is the child’s father. In these scenarios, a father must first establish paternity in order to become a child’s legal father and have his name placed on the birth certificate.
There are three ways to establish paternity in Illinois. In the simplest option, both mother and father sign an Illinois Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. This can be done in a hospital and is how unmarried couples in long-term relationships can quickly establish paternity and have a father’s name placed on a birth certificate. If, however, the presumed father denies paternity – or if the mother denies that the presumed father is the child’s biological father – then paternity must be established by either a Department of Public Aid administrative order or via a Court order.
In order to receive public assistance, a mother must name her child’s father on her application; this is to ensure that a child is receiving all available resources, including child support. The Department can then seek a paternity and child support order from the alleged father.
If the Department of Public Aid is not involved, then the person seeking to establish paternity must file a petition with the Court. Only the child’s mother, the alleged father, or the child him or herself can file a petition to establish paternity.
Palatine Paternity Attorney
If you are an unmarried mother and need to establish paternity in order to obtain child support, or if you are a father and need to establish paternity in order to be awarded custody and/or visitation with your child, contact the Palatine Law Offices of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., today. With more than a decade’s worth of experience handling child support, child custody and paternity cases, Palatine paternity lawyer Nicholas W. Richardson will work quickly to establish your child’s parentage so that the child receives the financial and emotional support he or she deserves from both parents.