How is Legal Paternity Established in Illinois?

establish paternity, Illinois paternity attorney, legal paternity, VAP form, Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, child support, child visitation, child custody, father's rightsPaternity is defined as the relationship between a child and his or her father. After legal paternity has been established, the father is linked to responsibilities as well as rights related to that child. This typically includes child support and visitation or custody with the child.

There are specific rules in Illinois that define the establishment of legal paternity. One of the following circumstances must be met for a man to be considered the legal father of a child:

  • The father was married to the mother after the birth of the child and the birth certificate for that child involved his written permission to include his name on that certificate;
  • A court order or administrative order of paternity has been recorded;
  • The mother and father have signed a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” form; or
  • The father was married to the child’s mother when the child was conceived and/or born.

The mother of the child is the only person, aside from the child, who can petition the court to establish paternity. There are several reasons to establish paternity, including to protect parental rights, enable access to medical information related to the child, protect a child’s right to a relationship with the father, and to access certain benefits to which the child may be entitled as a result of his or her father.

In Illinois, there is an administrative process in place to help establish paternity. An interview is conducted to get any needed signatures and answer some questions from the mother. Then an interview is scheduled with the father to figure out whether genetic testing is required or whether he will voluntarily acknowledge paternity. If the individual identified as the alleged father does not attend the interview, paternity may be declared by default. Paternity discussions can be difficult and emotionally charged. Contact an Illinois paternity attorney today to learn more.

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