PATERNITY / PARENTAGE

Paternity / Parentage

It takes two people to tango and to create a child. Both parents have the right to be involved in their child’s life but with that involvement also comes certain responsibilities to provide for the child’s needs. Exercising these rights and enforcing these responsibilities is not always a simple matter when parents are unmarried. The assistance of an attorney is essential when trying to legally establish paternity.

The lawyers of Corri Fetman & Associates, Ltd. understand the complexities of modern relationships, and we can provide the legal help you need when addressing parentage.

Paternity and Parentage in Illinois

When a child is born to a married mother in Illinois, her spouse will be presumed to be the child’s legal parent. However, if a mother is unmarried, the father will not be named the child’s legal parent until parentage is established.

Paternity can be established in Illinois using one of the following methods:

  • The parents may sign and file a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. This form is available at hospitals, or it may be obtained through a County Clerk or local child support office. If the father is unsure if he is the parent of the Minor Child, he should not execute the VAP because undoing the VAP at a later date can prove to be difficult.
  • A Paternity Order may be issued after DNA testing is performed the identity of the father has been established.
  • A court hearing may be held after a petition to establish parentage is filed. The parents will typically be ordered to participate in DNA testing to determine whether the alleged father is the child’s biological parent.

Once paternity has been legally established, both parents will have the obligation to meet the child’s financial needs, and one parent may be ordered to pay child support to the other parent. Parents will also be able to exercise their parental rights, including sharing in the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. Regardless of which parent has decision-making responsibility regarding how the child will be raised, both parents will have the right to reasonable amounts of parenting time (visitation) with the child.

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