The Law Office of Christina Martell

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How Establishing Legal Paternity in Illinois Helps the Entire Family

Posted on in Family Law

DuPage County family law attorney paternity

Under Illinois law, if you are a married woman and you have a baby, your husband is legally presumed to be the father of your child. However, if you have a child while you are unmarried, you may assume that the father’s willingness to help raise the child is sufficient to ensure that your son or daughter has the support necessary for a comfortable life. However, without taking action to establish legal paternity, you may run into issues as time goes on. In many cases, establishing paternity is easy to do, and it provides significant benefits for mothers, fathers, and children.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity in Illinois

Taking the steps to establish legal paternity has advantages for everyone involved:

  • For mothers, establishing legal paternity means that the father is obligated to contribute to child support. Even if the father has already expressed a willingness to provide, legal action can ensure that he contributes the amount required under Illinois law, and that payments are enforceable in case the father changes his mind in the future. This can significantly ease a single mother’s financial burden.

  • For fathers, establishing paternity can secure parental rights and make it possible to seek input in a parenting agreement in which both parents share parenting time and decision-making responsibilities regarding the child’s upbringing, education, and medical care.

  • For children, legal paternity means they can benefit from the involvement of both parents. Child support from both the father and mother can make it possible to provide for a child’s regular needs, and with a legally established father, a child may also be eligible for health insurance coverage, Social Security and life insurance benefits, and inheritance.

How to Establish Legal Paternity in Illinois

If the mother and father are in agreement as to the child’s paternity, legally confirming it can be as simple as completing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form and filing it with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). You can do this in the hospital as soon as the child is born to ensure that both parents’ names appear on the birth certificate, or at any point in the future.

If there is a dispute over paternity, for example, if the father refuses to acknowledge the child, or the mother tries to prevent the father’s involvement, additional legal action is likely necessary. Either parent can petition the court for legal paternity, and a judge can issue a ruling after holding a hearing and considering the results of a DNA test.

Contact a DuPage County Paternity Lawyer

At The Law Office of Christina Martell, we represent both mothers and fathers in paternity cases with the goal of ensuring that your children have access to the care and support they need to thrive. We can help you file the necessary paperwork or prepare for your court hearing depending on the situation. Call our experienced and compassionate Warrenville family law attorney today at 630-717-2772. We offer consultations for $100, which would be credited toward your bill moving forward upon hiring our firm.




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