Establishing Paternity Under Illinois Law
Illinois law takes a child’s well-being very seriously, specifically recognizing the right of every child to the physical, emotional, and financial support of both parents—regardless of whether they are unwed, married, divorced, or adoptive.
As many of today’s parents never marry, these different types of support are not as clear-cut as they are when the couple shares a household. Parentage, often termed “paternity,” comes into play in these situations. Both the mother and the father of the child have rights and responsibilities under the law. However, before they attach, it is necessary to legally establish paternity. There are three primary ways of addressing parentage in Illinois.
When a married woman gives birth, there is a legal presumption that the father of the child is her husband. The concept also applies if a child is conceived during a marriage, even if the parents divorce prior to the child’s birth. It is possible to overcome the legal presumption if two spouses execute a “Voluntary Denial of Paternity,” which officially makes the husband not the father of the child. In addition, the biological father must sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” to rebut the presumption.
Unmarried parents can establish parentage by executing a document called a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity.” Both the father and mother of the child must sign in order for the document to have legal effect.
Adjudication of Parentage
A parent may file documents in court to establish parentage of a child, which is often the case where the mother or father wants a judge to address parental responsibilities and child support. If unmarried parents do not sign the “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity” at the child’s birth, the only way to establish paternity is through judicial determination.
A number of different individuals may have standing to bring a parentage action in court, including the mother, a man claiming to be the biological father, or a man legally presumed to be the father due to marriage. The child can also bring an action for adjudication of parentage.
Talk to an Illinois Parentage Lawyer on Paternity Matters
Whether you are the child’s mother or father, you do have rights and obligations under Illinois law; however, it is necessary to establish paternity in certain situations before the law will recognize your interests. Parentage is a highly complex area of law, especially in contested matters. These cases require strong evidence and a knowledgeable attorney with extensive experience representing clients in similar situations.
If you are involved in an existing paternity case or are wondering about your rights in Illinois, please contact the passionate DuPage County family law attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC. We can answer your questions or schedule a consultation to discuss your options.