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The Advantages of Establishing Legal Paternity as an Unmarried Parent

 Posted on November 03, 2021 in Paternity

IL familiy lawyerPaternity refers to the legal relationship between a child and the child’s father. When a woman has a baby, she is automatically considered the child’s legal parent. The woman’s husband, if she is married, also becomes the child’s legal parent. However, when unmarried parents have children together, the situation is different. Often, one or both parents will need to take additional steps to establish the legal relationship between the child and the father. Read on to learn about establishing paternity in Illinois and what you can do if you have questions or concerns about paternity.

How Can You Establish the Legal Father-Child Relationship?

Establishing paternity offers important advantages for both parents and children. The easiest way to establish paternity is for both parents to fill out a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) and file it with the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services. However, this option is not always possible. If your child’s father refuses to sign the VAP or there is uncertainty about who the child’s father is, you may need to take action through the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) or the court system. Genetic testing may be needed to verify the father’s biological relationship to the child. Typically, DNA paternity testing is accomplished by taking a small cheek cell sample from the inside of the mouth.

What is the Purpose of Establishing Paternity?

Often, the issue of paternity arises because a mother is seeking child support payments. Court-ordered child support is a crucial form of financial support for single parents. However, you cannot get child support from your child’s father if you have not established paternity. Once the child’s relationship with his or her father is officially established, you can petition the court for child support. The child also becomes entitled to health insurance coverage through the father’s healthcare plan, social security benefits, and inheritance rights. Once paternity is established, the father may also petition the court for parenting time with the child.

Contact a Naperville Paternity Lawyer

If you are a mother or father with questions or concerns about paternity, contact a DuPage County family law attorney from Pesce Law Group, P.C. Our team understands that paternity issues can be complicated and frustrating. We will sit down with you and explain all of your options under Illinois law and help you take the steps needed to establish paternity.

Call our office today at 630-352-2240 for a free, confidential case assessment.



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