Establishing Paternity: Exercising Your Rights under the Illinois Parentage Act

paternity test, Illinois paternity laws, Illinois family law attorneyFor whatever the reason, your quest for establishing paternity is both a personal and legal right awarded to those residing in Illinois under the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 (750 ILCS 45). The law establishes this action for both married and unmarried parents and is established by presumption, consent or judicial determination. The quest to determine paternity can be initiated by the natural mother, a father presuming he is the child’s father or in some instances when the child is requesting clarification of paternity.

According to Illinois Legal Aid, an agency dedicated to assisting Illinois residents with legal guidance, paternity is defined as the relationship between a father and his child. Once legal paternity has been established, the father is entitled to rights as well as responsibility for the child, often including visitation rights, custody and child support.

For an Illinois father to establish paternity, only one of the following need apply:

  • The father was married to the child’s mother when the child was born or conceived;
  • The father married the mother following the child’s birth and his name is recorded on the child’s birth certificate with his written permission;
  • A court order or Department of Public Aid administrative order establishing paternity is produced; and
  • Both parents signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage or Paternity form.

As in most states, Illinois does place a statute of limitations on those seeking paternity. If you are considering this course of action it may be the opportune time to contact a knowledgeable paternity attorney in your area. To deter the statute of limitations you should be aware of the following as per Illinois law:

  • Parents wishing to establish paternity should do so within two years from the child’s age of majority;
  • The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services can initiate action if it has been providing assistance with child support collection services within two years from the child’s age of majority; and
  • Failure by parent, agency or child to request paternity within the specified time frame will not bar any party the right to determine a non-existent parental relationship.

If you have decided to move forward with establishing paternity it is best not to go it alone. Any time a legal action presents under state or federal court contacting an experienced family law attorney is your best option. Often issues of paternity can have a negative outcome and an established family law attorney is your best option for advisement and negotiation to achieve the best possible outcome.

For a free consultation with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney, contact the law office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. We offer both collaborative and litigation solutions.

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