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Hillside, IL 60162

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Oak Park family law attorney paternity

When a couple is married and they have a baby, it is presumed that the man is the legal father of the child. However, when two people are not married, paternity (parentage) has to be legally established before the father is eligible for specific parental rights, and before the child is entitled to certain benefits. Studies have shown that children thrive most when they have a relationship with both of their parents, so confirming parentage is important for everyone’s best interests and well-being of all parties. Establishing parentage for children born out of wedlock can also help provide a basis for obtaining child support payments, and for fathers, it may be necessary for the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and can allow them to be more involved in their child’s life moving forward.

Legally Recognizing Parentage 

In Illinois, when parents are in agreement on who the father of the child is, both parties can fill out and sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” (VAP) form, which legally establishes parentage. In situations where the parents do not agree on the father’s identity, they can do either one of the following:

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Hillside legal parentage lawyer

Parentage (which is also known as paternity) is the legal relationship between a parent and his or her child. If a couple was married or in a civil union when their child was born or within 300 days before the birth, the mother’s spouse is presumed to be the father. However, if the mother and father were not married or in a civil union, paternity must be legally established. Naming a child’s legal parents is important, because it ensures that both parents have a right to participate in the allocation of parental responsibilities, and it allows the child to receive the necessary child support. For fathers who are trying to protect their parental rights or mothers who wish to confirm the parentage of their child, it is important to speak to an experienced family law attorney.       

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

If there is a mutual agreement between two parties about who the father is, a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) can be completed, signed, and filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). This will allow the father's name to be added to the child's birth certificate. A VAP can be completed at any time after the child is born, and the signing must be witnessed by a person who is 18 years or older who is not named on the document. 

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