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Tips for Illinois Dads Looking to Establish Paternity

 Posted on January 26, 2024 in Paternity

DuPage County family lawyerUnderstanding why paternity is important is crucial to a child's life and the parents. It is essential where divorce is concerned and all the issues accompanying it. A court will decide on all things related to a child that is in that child's best interest. If an alleged father has not yet established paternity, they may be left out of all decisions regarding the child. That is because the court will only recognize the child's legal father when it comes to custodial rights. For help with establishing paternity, it could help to speak with an attorney experienced in family law.

Custodial Rights

When paternity is established, the father can then be granted custodial rights to his children. These rights include allocating parental responsibilities such as parenting time and decision-making and getting your name on a child's birth certificate. Parenting time refers to visitation and time spent with your children that would otherwise not be granted without first establishing paternity. The same can be said for decision-making rights over your child. With these legal rights, you will have a say in your child's upbringing that is enforceable by the court.

Child Support

By establishing paternity, it puts child support on the table for either yourself or the mother, depending on the decision of the judge. The parent the child lives with the majority of the time is usually the one who will receive child support. Whether this is you or not makes no difference, as child support is the obligation of the one legally required to pay it. Ensuring your child has a bright future and that the other parent has the means to make it so is an essential part of being a parent. Failure to pay what is owed will only result in legal complications that could see wages garnished and possible jail time.

Ways To Establish Paternity

Married couples do not need to go through the trouble of establishing paternity unless the father feels that the child is not biologically his. The husband is considered the presumed father without the need to complete any additional paperwork that would have him prove it. Unmarried parents will have to prove paternity, which could take nothing more than a signature. However, if you are unsure whether or not you are the father, you should refrain from signing anything until parentage is a certainty.

The simplest and most common way to establish paternity in the state of Illinois is through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). It is a document that must be filled out and signed, then filed with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). Another way to determine parentage is through a DNA test, which should be the preferred way of determining paternity if there is any doubt the child is your own. These tests are 99.9 percent accurate in determining the parentage of a child, proving whether or not you are the biological father.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Family Law Attorney

Establishing paternity is very important to the child, the mother, and the father. It provides you with rights you would not have otherwise and relieves all doubt about a child's parentage. At Calabrese Associates, P.C., we aim to help all families in need with their legal troubles. We can provide an experienced Naperville, IL paternity lawyer to help demystify who your child's biological father is. For assistance in recognizing a child's father through paternity, call us at 630-393-3111. We are prepared to guide you through the process every step of the way.

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