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How Can I Establish Paternity in Illinois? 

Posted on in Family Law

St. Charles Paternity LawyerIt is not uncommon for parents to want to take the necessary steps to scientifically and legally establish the biological relationship they share with their children. Only when parentage (formerly called paternity) has been proven can a father assert his parental rights. There are a variety of ways to establish parentage in Illinois. All are equally effective, but some are easier than others. If paternity was not established at birth, you may want to seek the help of an attorney, who can guide you through the best way to establish legal parentage. 

What Are the Ways to Establish Paternity in Illinois?

Illinois courts typically believe that it is in a child’s best interest to have a relationship with both natural parents. Sometimes, however, it is not clear who the child’s legal father is. In that case, paternity must be established before parenting time can be allocated and a parenting plan can be made. In Illinois, you can establish paternity in these ways: 

  • Marriage - A child born to married parents is automatically legally the child of both, and no further steps need to be taken to prove parentage unless a dispute arises. This holds true even for same-sex couples. 

  • Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity - This form is typically offered to unmarried parents at the hospital when the child is born. When the form is completed, the father’s name is placed on the baby’s birth certificate and the document is filed with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). This form can also be completed later, when the child is not a newborn anymore, but additional requirements may apply.

  • Administrative Paternity Order - A hearing is held by the DHFS, which then issues an Administrative Paternity Order. This route is more difficult and less convenient than using a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, but may be necessary in some cases. 

  • Order of Paternity - This is typically the least convenient method of proving parentage, as it is done judicially. This means that a judge must enter this order. If the mother is uncooperative, or there is a contentious dispute over paternity, court action may be needed to establish who the father is. 

Establishing parentage is the first step to asserting your rights as a parent in Illinois. Even if you are still together with the child’s other parent and actively co-parenting with no intention of splitting up, making sure that you are the legal father is incredibly important in the event that something happens to the mother and you need sole custody. No matter what method you use, being your child’s legal as well as actual father is an important way to protect that relationship. 

Call a Kane County Paternity Lawyer

Emily Rapp at McSwain Nagle Giese & Rapp, P.C. believes in the importance of the relationship between fathers and children. Our experienced Geneva paternity attorneys will help you prove that your children are yours using the most convenient method available in your case. Call us at 630-402-0185 to schedule a free consultation. 



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