How a father can establish paternity in Illinois
When it comes to child custody matters in te state of Illinois, just what a party is facing will depend on the specific circumstances the person is in. While divorcing couples may need to establish who the children will be with, when, things can be even more complex for those who never married. This is particularly true where fathers are concerned as in these situations, it is first necessary to establish that one is in fact the father.
In Illinois, upon the birth of a child the father is not automatically deemed to be the legal father. Instead, he is only considered to be the “alleged father.” A father can follow one of three paths to establish paternity.
The first is to have a judge enter an Order of Paternity in court. Next, the State of Illinois’ Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Child Support Services could enter an Administrative Paternity Order. The last, and, assuming the parents are on good terms, perhaps the simplest way, is for both parents to complete a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form.
Once paternity is established, among other things, a father can pursue custody. This can be a complicated matter when a couple does not get along. Because a healthy relationship between all parties involved in a child’s life is best, when possible it is preferable that couples worked together to create a plan that works for all involved.
To help establish a custody plan it is generally advisable to work with a family law attorney who has experience with paternity and custody cases.