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Kane County legal parentage lawyerFor married couples, the identity of a child’s parents is typically not in doubt, and both spouses are prepared to raise the child. However, for parents who are not married, establishing paternity can make a great difference for a child, ensuring that both parents will play a role in the child’s life and provide the child with financial support. By including a father’s name on a child’s birth certificate, this can protect the rights of both the father and the child.

What Is Paternity?

When a child is born, the relationship between the mother and the child will be obvious, but the child will not necessarily have a legal relationship with his or her father. If the mother is married, her husband is assumed to be the child’s father. However, for couples who are not married, even if they are engaged, the identity of the father will not be presumed, and paternity will need to be legally established. The only exception to this is if a mother’s marriage ended within 300 days before the child was born. In these cases, her former spouse is assumed to be the child’s father. 

In most family law situations, Illinois courts prefer to keep both parents involved in a child's life whenever possible. This is exactly what establishing paternity does; it gives a child the right to have a relationship with both parents, and both the father and mother will be required to provide child support to meet the child’s needs. The child will also have the right to receive benefits such as Social Security, insurance coverage, and veteran’s benefits, and he or she will be able to receive an inheritance from both parents. The father would also have child custody rights if something were to happen to the mother. While establishing paternity does not guarantee that a father will share in parental responsibilities (custody) or parenting time (visitation), it gives the father the right to petition the court to address these matters. 

Posted on in Paternity

Kane County parental responsibilities lawyerIn Illinois, if a child is born outside of marriage, the issue of paternity is not automatically assumed by the law. When children are born to legally married partners, paternity is assumed. For unmarried couples with children, the state or court system may become involved to determine issues of paternity, support, and parenting responsibilities if necessary. The Illinois General Assembly enacted the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984, followed by recent update—the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015—to establish legal procedures for securing the rights of unmarried parents.

Illinois Law Gives Default Parental Responsibilities to Unmarried Mothers

In Illinois, state law mandates that in the case of unmarried parents, the mother will retain all parental responsibilities—previously known as custody—until paternity is established. Paternity actions establish a legal parent-child relationship and the right to pursue responsibilities regarding or a child that was conceived outside of marriage. Either the mother or the purported father of the child may file a paternity action.

Posted on in Family Law

Geneva family law attorneyOn January 1, 2017, a new law will go into effect in Illinois with a section that specifically addresses the parentage of children of assisted reproduction. Public Act 099-0763 amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) and the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 clarifying certain sections which lawmakers felt were needed after last year’s major overhaul of both Acts.

Children of Assisted Reproduction

Over the past few years, there have been several high-profile legal cases regarding child custody and parental responsibility regarding children of assisted reproduction. Under the new measure, any individual who is an intended parent is the legal parent of any resulting child. The new law clearly specifies legal parentage and responsibility as follows:

parentage act, new law, Illinois family law attorneyWhile much has been written about the new laws regarding divorce and child custody that are set to take effect in January, the new year will also mark the implementation of the updated law regarding paternity and parentage. The Illinois Parentage Act of 2015, or IPA15, as it is being referred to by many, will repeal the Parentage Act of 1984, which at more than 30 years old, was in desperate need of overhaul to meet the needs of today’s families.

Among the biggest changes being made by the IPA15 is shift in language from paternity considerations to the more general “parentage.” Of course, paternity is still a major part of the law, since it is obviously much more difficult to confirm the relationship between a father and child, than between a biological mother and the child. However, the new language in the law, where appropriate, is gender-neutral so as to recognize the establishment of parental rights for same-sex parents and surrogacy situations.

Considerations for Ordered Genetic Testing

vap, paternity, Kane County Family Law AttorneyIn the state of Illinois, the legal rights of parents are based upon the recognition of their relationship with their children. For a mother, obviously, the presumption of a legal relationship is usually very simple. For a father, however, it may not be so easy, particularly if he is not married to the mother of the child. While paternity tests and court proceedings may sometimes be required in more complicated situations, such avenues can usually be avoided by means of a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, or VAP.

VAP Basics

Under Illinois law, a VAP can be used to establish the legal parent-child relationship between a man and his son or daughter. It does not require genetic testing, court adjudication, or any other outside influences. Instead, the VAP is, as its name implies, a voluntary acceptance of parental rights and responsibilities.

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