Illinois law recognizes the importance of every child’s right to the support of both of his or her parents. This includes children whose parents are not married, as well as those who are. But unmarried parents must establish their children’s paternity in order to ensure the benefits of parenthood for their children.
In Illinois, a man is presumed to be the father of a child when the child is born during the marriage. When the parents have not married paternity must be established through other means. There are several methods for establishing paternity in Illinois.
First, a child’s paternity may be established if the father marries the mother after the child’s birth and is listed, with his written consent, on the child’s birth certificate after the birth.
Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity
Secondly, paternity may be established with a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form. The form must be signed by both parents and witnessed. Usually, it is signed in the hospital, after the baby is born. The form may not be signed before the birth.
If the parents sign a VAP, the father’s name will be added to the birth certificate. In the VAP, the parents agree that the alleged father is the father and waive any right to DNA testing. Both parents agree to financially support the child, and both parents get the right to notice of any adoption proceedings.
Child Support Services
When the child is living with a parent and the parent is receiving Illinois public aid benefits or health insurance, the parent may request that the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) be involved to help to establish child support. Generally, the Parent’s income must be at or below the poverty level and the parent is receiving public aid benefits. . The parent must file an application with HFS and as a result HFS may enter an Administrative Paternity Order. HFS may order the parents to submit to genetic testing to determine parentage, because the department has an interest in making sure that children get financial support from their parents. Generally, HFS does not get involved with anything other than establishing child support.
An Arlington Heights Paternity Attorney Can Assist with a Court Order
Another way to establish paternity is through the court system. A parent brings an action in court to establish the father or mother. Sometimes there is a trial in front of a judge in circuit court in a county in which any of the parties resides. If the court determines that the man is the child’s legal and biological father, it issues a paternity order, making the relationship legal.
Establishing legal paternity has several beneficial effects for children. It means that the supporting parent has an obligation to provide financially for the child, including paying child support, health insurance, medical costs, and educational expenses. The child also becomes eligible for benefits through the father, including Social Security, health insurance, life insurance benefits, the right to inheritance, and veterans’ benefits. Additionally, the child will have access to both parents’ medical histories.
There are also emotional and social benefits. The child can develop a relationship with the supporting parent and their family. However, establishing paternity does not establish visitation or custody rights. Parents must petition the court to establish these rights.
It is important for any child to have knowledge of both parents and the child’s mother or father be legally recognized. Call the Rolling Meadows family law attorney at SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC for a free consultation.