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The Importance of Establishing Paternity When Parents Are Unmarried

Posted on in Family Law

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.

The Importance of Establishing Paternity

Even if the mother has a good relationship with the child’s father, the legal relationship between the child and his or her father is not present until paternity is established. Establishing paternity provides a number of benefits, including:

  • Ensuring a right for the child to have a relationship with his or her father and extended family
  • Being able to add the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate
  • Making it possible to add the child to the father’s health insurance plan
  • Protecting the father’s rights if something were to happen to the mother that makes her unable to care for the child
  • Making sure the child is eligible to receive the father’s Social Security benefits, veteran’s benefits, pension, or inheritance if the father dies
  • Ensuring that the child can receive financial support from both parents that will meet their daily needs

Get in Touch With a Will County Family Law Attorney

Making sure that your child’s paternity is legally established can be one of the best and most responsible things you can do for your child. Taking this step for your child allows them to have access to certain rights that they would not have had before. At The Foray Firm, we understand how important it is to establish paternity, but we also know how difficult it can be, especially if paternity is contested. Our skilled Joliet paternity lawyers can guide you through the entire process. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule your initial consultation.

Sources:

https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/FormsBrochures/Pages/hfs3282.aspx

https://www.illinois.gov/hfs/SiteCollectionDocuments/hfs1759.pdf

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