In Illinois divorce cases, establishing paternity can be one of the most important steps for determining certain important issues. Paternity refers to the biological relationship between a father and a child. Under the law, the biological father of a child is also the legal father of the child, regardless of the marital status of the father. This means that fathers' rights and obligations, such as visitation and child support payments, are a part of paternity.
In some circumstances, a man may wish to challenge paternity in a custody case. This can be done for multiple reasons. A man may believe that he is not the biological father of a child and therefore should not be granted fathers' rights, obligations and responsibilities. In other cases, a man who has not been granted legal paternity may believe that he is actually the biological father of the child and may wish to challenge the paternity status of the legal father.
In order to formally challenge paternity, it is necessary to file a court complaint. This will initiate a suit to establish paternity. As part of the investigative process, the court may order blood tests, DNA tests and other medical procedures to discover biological paternity. Once the evidence has been collected and analyzed, the court will issue a ruling establishing paternity and granting fathers' rights to the biological father.
Ensuring that fathers' rights are awarded to the true father of a child is an important aspect of establishing child custody. Determining child custody and ensuring that the best interests of the child are being considered can be a difficult process. An attorney who is experienced with custody cases may be able to advise a client on the proper way to establish paternity.
Source: Findlaw, "Challenging Paternity", December 10, 2014