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Wheaton Paternity Lawyer

Assisting You With Paternity Concerns in DuPage County

Paternity refers to determining the identity of the father of a child and recognizing him as the child's legal parent. Paternity can be legally established using genetic testing, acknowledgment of the child, court orders, or other procedures. When a child is born to unmarried parents, establishing paternity is critical, as it will protect the rights of both the father and the child. If you are looking to establish paternity for a child, it is essential you contact a skilled family law attorney to ensure you understand your rights and the procedures that will be followed in your case.

At Fawell & Fawell, our knowledgeable family law attorney understands the legal advantages that paternity can provide for parents and children and the laws that may play a role in situations where paternity must be established. Our experience working with families of all kinds ensures that we can help our clients address these matters correctly, and we can effectively represent both mothers and fathers as they look to address issues related to a child's parentage.

Considerations for a Father Looking to Establish Parentage in Illinois

Contrary to popular belief, signing a child's birth certificate does not automatically establish parentage in Illinois. Paternity can be established through the following methods:

  • Presumption of paternity through marriage - When a child is born, the mother's partner will be presumed to be the child's parent if the couple is married. This presumption will also apply if a couple got divorced or their marriage was legally terminated through annulment or the death of a spouse at any time within 300 days before the date of the child's birth.
  • Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP) - This is often the most straightforward method of establishing parentage in Illinois, especially when a couple is sure they know who the father is. A VAP can be signed and executed by the mother and father in the hospital after a child is born, or it can be submitted to the county clerk at any later date. After the mother and father sign and submit the form, the father will be recognized as the child's legal parent. It is essential to ensure a VAP form is filled out correctly, signed by both parents, and filed with the proper authorities.
  • Administrative paternity order - This type of order is often used when there is uncertainty regarding the identity of a child's father. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) can work with the parents to determine whether they agree on the identity of the child's father, and if necessary, DNA testing may be used to confirm paternity. Once disagreements have been resolved, an administrative order may be filed that will name the father as the child's legal parent.
  • Judicial paternity order - If paternity is in question, a petition can be filed with the court to determine who the father is. This petition may be filed by the mother, the father, or other interested parties. The court will schedule a hearing to review the facts of the case and determine whether the identity of the father can be verified. In most cases, DNA testing will be ordered, and if these tests show that there is a 99.9 percent probability that the man in question is the child's biological father, an order of paternity will be issued.

Additional Considerations

Once paternity has been legally established in Illinois, fathers can enjoy the legal rights that come with being a parent, including, but not limited to sharing in the allocation of parental responsibilities and being granted visitation rights. The child will have the right to receive child support, and they may also be eligible for insurance coverage through either parent. Paternity also provides a child with inheritance rights, access to family medical history, and the ability to receive benefits through a parent, such as Social Security.

Contact a Wheaton Paternity Attorney

Establishing parentage can have a significant impact on the lives of fathers, mothers, and children. It is essential for parents to understand the paternity process in Illinois and the benefits that parentage can provide for families of all kinds. For all paternity-related matters in Illinois, it is important to work with a trustworthy family lawyer. At Fawell & Fawell, we understand that with an issue of such importance, you need experienced legal counsel that you can count on when it matters most. With us, that is precisely what you will get. Please call us at 630-871-2400 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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