Determining Paternity for Unmarried Parents

paternity, Illinois law, DuPage County Personal Injury AttorneyIn Illinois, an unmarried father must verify or prove his paternity to become his child’s legal father. Legal paternity entitles a man to seek custody of and visitation with his child. Among other rights, it also entitles the father to add his name to the child’s birth certificate. Establishment of paternity additionally allows a mother to seek child support from her child’s father. All of these rights are guaranteed in the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984.

Until a man officially establishes his paternity, he is considered to be his child’s “alleged father.” Married couples do not need to establish their child’s paternity – when a child is born to married parents, it is assumed that the mother’s husband is her child’s father. This is also true if the mother was married at the time of conception, but divorced before her child was born.

A man who is not the father of his wife’s child may sign a Denial of Paternity form, which relieves him of any financial and legal obligations to the child. When this happens, the child’s mother and biological father must usually sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form, or other methods for establishing paternity may be pursued.

If you are an unmarried father and want to become your child’s legal father or you are an unmarried mother seeking child support from your child’s father, contact an experienced family attorney to discuss your case and learn more about your legal options.

Establishing Paternity

The most common way for an unmarried father to establish his paternity is by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form. This form can be signed at the hospital when the baby is born. Both the child’s mother and father must sign and date this form in a witness’ presence.

If the father does not sign this form, the court may require him to establish his paternity through an Order of Paternity or an Administrative Paternity Order. An Order of Paternity is ordered and enforced by a judge. An Administrative Order of Paternity comes from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Child Support Services. Such orders frequently involve genetic testing to verify the biological connection between a man and the child..

Seeking Child Custody and Support

Once paternity is established, the court handles all issues related to child custody and support in the same way it handles these issues for divorced parents. Each parent’s income, household stability, and history of cooperation with the court and the other parent are considered when determining custody arrangements and child support orders. In any case that involves a child, the court puts the child’s best interests first and builds an agreement around his or her needs.

DuPage County Family Attorney

If you have any questions about legal paternity and parental rights, call 630-409-8184 to schedule your free legal consultation with a skilled Aurora family law attorney. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we advocate for Illinois families by providing top quality legal guidance and representation. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.

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