Illinois Paternity Information You Should Know
Paternity is a legal relationship between a father and his child, and it is vitally important for a number of reasons.
- Ensure a child’s right to a legal relationship.
- Add the father’s name to the birth certificate.
- Protect the parents’ rights.
- Enable access to family medical information.
- Secure the child’s benefits such as financial and medical support, Social Security, veteran’s benefits and inheritance.
If the parents of the child were not married to each other when the child was conceived and/or born, the father is considered the "alleged father." The alleged father is not the legal father of the child and his name cannot be added to the child's birth certificate until paternity is legally established.
In Illinois, if the mother is/was married when the child was conceived and/or born, her husband/ex-husband is legally presumed to be the father of that child.
There are 3 ways to establish paternity in Illinois:
1) Both parents complete, sign and have witnessed/dated a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form;
2) An Administrative Paternity Order is entered by the State of Illinois' Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Child Support Services; or
3) An Order of Paternity is entered in court by a judge.
The easiest way to establish paternity is to complete a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) at the hospital when the child is born. There are instructions explaining how to complete it on the front and back. The parents’ rights and responsibilities are also on the VAP. Your family law attorney in Illinois can help you with the forms that you need to establish paternity.
The VAP asks for information about the child, the mother and the father. All three areas must be completed and both parents must sign the VAP in front of a witness who is at least 18 years old and who is not the parent or child. The witness must sign/date the VAP and provide his or her address and telephone number below each parent’s signature.
A VAP can be completed, signed and witnessed/dated any time for any child who was born to unmarried parents.
Other issues pertaining to paternity without a VAP can be complex and require the help of an experienced and professional law firm fulfilling paternity and other family law needs in the Kane an Dupage Illinois Counties. Contact the Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Assoc. at (630) 232-9700.