Assisting With Establishing Parentage
It takes two parents to make a child, and both parents have the responsibility to care for their child and provide support until he or she becomes an adult. However, in some cases, the parentage of a child may be in doubt, and it may be necessary to legally establish paternity in order to ensure that the child receives the financial support he or she deserves.
At Laraia & Whitty, P.C., our family law attorneys understand the emotionally fraught nature of paternity cases and the complex legal issues that must be addressed. We are dedicated to protecting children’s best interests, and we will work with you to meet the legal requirements to establish paternity and ensure that your child’s financial needs are being met.
Establishing Paternity in Illinois
Paternity (also known as parentage) is a legal relationship between a father and a child. A man is presumed to be a child’s father if he was married to the child’s mother when the child was born, or if the child was born within 300 days after the marriage ended, whether through divorce, annulment, or death. A man who is presumed to be a child’s father can sign a Denial of Parentage form if he believes he is not the biological father.
If a child’s parents are not married, or if parentage is contested, paternity can be established in one of the following ways:
- Both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. These forms are typically available at hospitals, County Clerks’ offices, state or local Registrars, or an office of the Illinois Department of Human Services. If a father signs a VAP but later learns that he is not a child’s biological father, he must sign and submit a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form within 60 days after signing the VAP.
- The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services can use an administrative process to determine paternity.
- A court can hold a judicial hearing after a petition to adjudicate parentage is filed by a parent or child.
If an administrative process or judicial hearing are used to establish paternity, genetic testing will typically be ordered to determine whether a man is a child’s biological father. DNA tests must show that there is a 99.9% probability of paternity for a man to be presumed to be a child’s legal father.
After paternity is legally established, a parent may be required by the court to pay child support intended to meet the child’s daily needs. Parents may also ask the court to make decisions regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation).
Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney
At Laraia & Whitty, P.C., we understand the need for children to have support from both parents, and we will work with you to resolve any issues regarding paternity. We will provide you with the strong advocacy you need throughout the legal process, ensuring that your child’s rights and best interests are protected. Contact a Wheaton paternity and parentage attorney at 630-228-9984 to arrange a free consultation. We provide legal help to families in Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Winfield, Warrenville, and throughout DuPage County, Kane County, Cook County, Kendall County and Will County.