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Is My Child Legally My Child?

 Posted on March 24, 2022 in Paternity

DuPage County Paternity LawyerIt is simple fact that every child has a biological mother and a biological father. Whether the child was conceived through assisted reproductive technology like surrogacy, adopted, or conceived naturally, there are two biological parents. However, being a biological parent does not mean that you are your child’s legal parent as well–nor does being a child’s legal parent mean that you must be a biological parent. Parentage issues can be quite complicated, but establishing parentage may or may not be. Illinois is a rather progressive state when it comes to parentage issues. If you have concerns about establishing that you are your child’s legal parent, a family law attorney may be able to help. 

Why is Legal Parentage Important?

Legal parentage opens up a lot of doors both for the parents and for the child. A second legal parent must be established before the custodial parent can pursue child support. A person must be legally established as a child’s parent before they can pursue any type of joint custody arrangement that allows them to spend time with the child. 

Even for couples who are happily raising a child together, making sure that both are established as the child’s legal parents is the wise thing to do. Should the couple ever split, the non-established parent may have a very difficult time getting a court order that allows them to continue acting as a parent. 

How is Legal Parentage Established in Illinois?

There are several ways that legal parentage can be established. Some are easier than others, but they are all effective. Paths to legal parentage include: 

  • Marriage - If a married woman gives birth, her child is automatically the legal child of her spouse. Unlike in most states, this automatic legal parentage extends to women in same-sex marriages. The same is true for those in civil unions. 

  • VAP - Signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage is generally the simplest route for unmarried couples. It can be done when the child is born, or it can be done later. It is typically as simple as signing a form and having both parents’ names added to the birth certificate. 

  • Adoption - Legally adopting a child creates a legal parent-child relationship for non-biological parents. In a couple, both parents can adopt the child at the same time. Men in same-sex marriages or long-term relationships often use this method to become parents. If one person entering a marriage has a pre-existing child, the step-parent may be able to legally adopt a child if the other biological parent is out of the picture. 

  • Court action - As a last resort, either parent (or in some cases, the child) can bring an action to establish parentage. 

Call a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you are seeking to establish yourself as your child’s legal parent, Calabrese Associates, P.C. can help. Our Naperville parentage lawyers will help you use the method that makes the most sense for you. Call 630-393-3111 for a free consultation. 



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