The Importance of Determining Paternity

 Illinois child custody laws, Illinois family law attorney, paternity lawsuit, Determining paternity of a child born out of wedlock is legally important not only for both parents, but for the child as well. For a mother, determining the paternity of a child is crucial in order to seek legal recourse for back payments or non-payments of child support. For a father of a child born to unmarried parents, determining paternity is necessary to secure visitation and parental rights. Yet determining paternity is also important for the child — not only for psychological reasons, but for financial planning and medical reasons as well. With the advent of DNA testing, determining the paternity of a child may seem relatively commonplace, but a surprising number of people with children born to unmarried parents fail to obtain a legally viable order of paternity.

According to the Child Support Services of Illinois, there are three ways that a parent can establish paternity of the child. The first, and most simple, is for both parents to complete, sign, and have witnessed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. The second is for the Department of Healthcare and Family Services to file an Administrative Paternity Order, and the third is a court-ordered Order of Paternity. The latter likely proceeds when there is a dispute in paternity and one or both parents denied the claim of the other.

In Illinois, the mother’s legal husband at the time of birth is automatically and legally listed as the child’s father, regardless of whether or not he is the birth father. In the event that a mother has a child while she is married to someone who is not the child’s birth father, both she and the biological father would have to sign a Denial of Paternity when the baby is born. It can be signed at witnessed at the hospital. If neither the Denial of Paternity nor the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity are signed, the mother’s current husband is, “by law, the child’s legal father and his name must be put on the birth certification,” according to the Child Support Services of Illinois.

If you or someone you know has questions about child support, divorce, or paternity, the most important step is to seek the counsel of a qualified lawyer. Contact an experienced Aurora family law attorney today.

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