Important points about paternity in Illinois
Parents in Illinois who are concerned about issues related to paternity need to be aware of basic facts regarding how it is established, which could help avoid any long-term disputes. This is in the best interest of the child as well as the biological parents. Unfortunately, one of the most common legal issues that comes up has to do with paternity. Therefore, it is important to know as much as possible about it in the event that there is a disagreement from any perspective.
Paternity is defined as the legal relationship a father has with the child. When parents are married, there is no issue regarding legal paternity as the husband is presumed to be the legal father. If, however, the parents were not married when the child was conceived or born, then the man who is believed to be the father is called the “alleged” father. This is not a legal term and the man cannot be added to the birth certificate as the father until there is a legal establishment of paternity.
Paternity can be established in three different ways. One, if the parents complete, sign and have a witnessed Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or VAP form; two, if there is an Administrative Paternity Order from the state’s Child Support Services; or three, there is an order of paternity from a judge.
The VAP is the easiest method to establishing paternity. A form with instructions is provided and the parents will fill it out and sign it. Information regarding the parents and child will be disclosed. All three areas – the father, mother and child – must be completed. There needs to be a witness who is at least 18-years-old. This person cannot be a parent or child of the participants.
These are just some of the issues that are important when a child is born and the parents are not married. If there is a disagreement or other family law issues are coming to the forefront when it comes to fathers’ rights, paternity, custody, support or anything else, having help from an attorney can benefit the mother, the father or any person who is concerned about the child’s well-being. This also protects the rights of any and all interested parties.
Source: Illinois.gov, “Paternity Information You Should Know,” accessed on Dec. 6, 2016