Whether you are a mother or an alleged father, it is imperative that you establish paternity for several reasons. Among those include the protection of parental rights, rights to child support and an obligation to pay child support.
Paternity, by legal definition, is the state or quality of being a father. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services explores the main ways to establish paternity if paternity is uncertain.
Paternity by marriage
The most straightforward way to establish paternity in Illinois is through marriage. If a mother was married or in a civil union at the time of her child’s birth or 300 days before the child’s birth, then the law presumes that the husband or male partner is the legal father.
Establishing paternity of an “alleged father”
If paternity was not established through marriage, the law considers the man she identifies as the biological father the “alleged father.” An alleged father has no legal parental rights or obligation to the child unless and until he and the mother can establish paternity. To do so, one of several things must happen:
- Both parents agree to complete and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity before leaving the hospital after the birth of a child
- The state child support agency issues an Administrative Paternity Order
- A family court judge issues an Order of Paternity
- A genetic test concludes that the identified man is the biological father and therefore prompts a judge or the child support agency to issue an aforementioned order
Establishing paternity is important for so many reasons. Whether you are an alleged father or wish to establish the paternity of an alleged father, get the support you need to make the paternity process as seamless and stress-free as possible.