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High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162

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Establishing Paternity in Illinois

Posted on in Paternity / Parentage

Illinois family law attorneyIn a marriage, the paternity of a child is automatically established.  But this is not the case when the biological parents are unmarried. In that situation, the father is deemed an “alleged father” until he and the mother either acknowledge paternity, or receive a confirmation of paternity, either through the courts or through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). Learn more about establishing paternity in Illinois, including how it can be done and why you should do it, and discover why the assistance of an experienced family law attorney should be obtained.

Why Establish Paternity?

At first glance, the purpose of establishing paternity may seem to be about money, because a father may be obligated to pay child support if he and the biological mother are not residing together. However, fathers can also reap benefits if they pursue an establishment of paternity. For example, fathers can still have the right to pursue custody of their children, should the mother ever lose her parental rights or become incapacitated for any reason. Fathers can also seek parenting time and an allocation of parental responsibilities, both of which give them bonding time and decision-making power in the life of their child.

How to Establish Paternity in Illinois

Parents who wish to legally establish paternity for their child can do so in one of three ways in Illinois:

  1. Signing a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” document after the child’s birth;

  2. Pursuing an Administrative Paternity Order through DHFS; or,

  3. Pursuing an Order of Paternity through the courts.

A “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” (“VAP”) document should never be filled out if either of the biological parents questions the paternity of the child. A man signing a “VAP” under those circumstances will put him at risk for paying child support for a child that may not legally or biologically be his.  Reversing a “VAP” can sometimes be done, but it is not an easy or guaranteed process. Furthermore, it places the man in question at risk for paying child support on a child that is not legally or biologically his.

When to Contact an Attorney

There are numerous situations in which one parent or the other will need the assistance of an attorney while trying to establish paternity. For example, a mother may be married, and the biological father may not be her husband. In this situation, either the mother or the alleged father should hire a skilled family law attorney.  Another possible situation in which legal assistance should be obtained is if the father wishes to seek parenting time and an allocation of parental responsibilities; in that situation, the father is much more likely to receive his fair share of time and decision-making power in the life of his child if he has an experienced parentage lawyer on his side.

Knowledgeable and experienced, the Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. can help significantly with your child support, parenting time, allocation of parental responsibilities, and paternity establishment needs. In every situation, we strive to protect the best interests of the child. Schedule a personalized, no-obligation consultation with our Hillside, IL family law attorney to see how we can help with your matter. Call 708-449-7400 today.

Source:

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

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