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Joliet paternity lawyerWhen a child is born to unmarried parents, there is often uncertainty surrounding the father’s involvement in the child’s life, or even the father’s identity. Establishing legal paternity can remove much of that uncertainty and lead to many important benefits, including financial support for the child and parental rights for the father. Under Illinois law, there are several options for establishing paternity, and it is important to consider which one is the best choice for your case.

Methods of Establishing Paternity

Some ways of establishing paternity are more difficult than others, and the options available will depend in large part on the nature of the relationship between the child’s parents. The possible methods of establishing a man’s parentage in Illinois include:

  • Presumption of paternity - In Illinois, a man is presumed to be the legal father of a child if he was previously married to the child’s mother within 300 days prior to the child’s birth, even if he is no longer married to the mother when the child is born. Additionally, a man who marries the child’s mother after the child’s birth may be presumed to be the father if he agrees to be listed as such on the birth certificate. However, it is important to note that a presumption of paternity may be rebutted if there is evidence that another man is the child’s biological father.
  • Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) - A man who is not presumed to be the father can still establish paternity with few obstacles if he and the child’s mother agree to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity after the child’s birth. This form may be completed at the hospital where the child is born, or at a later time, and it must be filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) in order to take effect.
  • Administrative Paternity Order - If both parents are not in agreement regarding the child’s parentage, a VAP will not be a viable option. One alternative for a mother who is seeking to secure child support is to pursue an administrative order through DHFS. DHFS may order an alleged father to submit to genetic testing as part of this process.
  • Adjudication of Paternity - Another option for either parent is to petition for an adjudication of paternity in court. This process typically involves court-ordered genetic testing, and the court will consider the results and other evidence in determining whether a man should be adjudicated as the child’s legal father. After a judicial order of paternity, the legal father can also petition the court for parenting time and parental responsibilities.

Contact a Will County Parentage Attorney

Given the variety of options available for establishing paternity, you may have questions regarding the best way to proceed and what to expect throughout the process. At The Foray Firm, our experienced Joliet family law attorneys can help. Contact us today at 312-702-1293 to learn how you can get the legal guidance and representation you need to secure your parental rights and provide for your child’s needs.

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Will County paternity lawyerIf you have recently had a child, or simply never identified your child's father on their birth certificate, it is important that you legally recognize who the child’s biological father is. For some mothers, naming their child’s father may open a door for a contentious or abusive relationship between the child and their biological father. For others, they may not be certain about who the father is. A difficult situation that some mothers encounter is their child’s biological father passing away before they were able to name them on the birth certificate. Even if the child’s father is deceased, proving paternity can lead to a number of benefits, both financial and emotional. Luckily, those with male children still have the ability to do so with the help of modern technology.

DNA Testing on Family Members

For those who want biological proof of who their child’s father is, DNA testing is the manner in which this can be done. This is a common option for men who are uncertain about their biological connection to a child. Though it may seem far-fetched, this is also a way to prove paternity for a man who is deceased if you have a son. Modern technology has allowed lab technicians to determine a child’s father by analyzing the man’s blood relatives’ DNA. Such paternity testing will be conducted using DNA samples from the paternal grandparents or alleged father’s other children since this will reveal whether or not the genes actually match the deceased, alleged father. By looking at the chromosomes within the DNA, lab technicians can determine whether or not there is a biological connection between the child and the man in question.

Taking a closer look at the biology behind the testing, one must understand that men have an X and a Y chromosome while females have two X chromosomes. For male children, their Y chromosome will be compared to that of the paternal male relatives. Y chromosomes are passed virtually unchanged down the male line. By comparing the Y chromosome of the male child to the alleged father’s brother or father, one can determine whether they match—signifying their biological connection—or not—proving that they are unrelated.

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Will County paternity attorney family lawIt is widely understood in this day and age that children thrive when both of their parents play active roles in their lives. A father is just as important as a mother, even if the mother and father were not married when the child was born. Ideally, the father will play just as large a role as the mother, though that does not happen all of the time. 

It is extremely important to establish the paternity of your child, because without doing so, your child only has one legal parent. It can be a lengthy and complicated process to establish your child’s paternity if you were not married to the other parent at the time of the child’s birth, but it is not impossible.

Automatic Paternity

Paternity is the term used for the legal tie that a father has with his child. In cases where the mother is married or in a civil union at the time of the child’s birth or within 300 days before the child was born, the man she was married to or in a civil union with is automatically presumed to be the child’s legal father. If the mother was not married or in a civil union, then she must go about establishing the paternity of the child in a different manner. The parents may sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, or paternity may be established through legal proceedings, which may order genetic testing to be completed.

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