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Posted on in Family Law

Geneva paternity lawyerIt is one thing to know that you are the father of a child. It is a different story when you are trying to convince the legal system that you are the father. Although marriage is not right for everyone—and in some situations, should be discouraged—however establishing paternity is significantly easier if the parents are married before the birth of the child. Establishing paternity is not impossible if the child was born out of wedlock, but the process can be much longer and more complicated.

Why Does Marriage Matter?

Does marriage matter? It depends on your circumstances and if you WANT to be married. There are significant benefits that may be available to some married couples, but for others—like those receiving set pensions—it may stop current benefits. Therefore, it is up to each couple to decide if marriage is the right option. It is more socially acceptable than ever before to have children outside of wedlock. Nearly 50% of children born today to women under the age of 30 are born to unmarried mothers. This percentage is regardless of financial or social status and incorporates children of celebrities and political figures as well as ordinary individuals. With regards to establishing paternity, if the mother and spouse are married at the time of conception, or are married on the date of birth, the spouse is presumed to be the other legal parent. If you are part of the unmarried population with a new child, you can establish parentage through provisions in the Illinois Parentage Act.

Posted on in Paternity

paternity, Geneva family law attorneyUnder Illinois law, the legal relationship between a child and his or her father is only presumed if the man was married to child’s mother at the time of, just prior to, or just after the child’s birth. According to the most recent available statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, more than 40 percent of all births in the United States are to unmarried mothers. These numbers indicate that, on average, paternity cannot be presumed in about two out of five cases.

The most common method for establishing paternity when there is no existing presumption—or to rebut a presumption in certain cases—is by means of a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (VAP) form. When both the mother and father complete the form properly, it creates a legal parent-child relationship between the man and his son or daughter. As such, completing the VAP form is an extremely serious matter and one that should not be taken lightly.

Be Absolutely Certain

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.

denial of paternity, paternity, Illinois family lawyerWhen a married couple announces the birth of a new baby, it is generally the cause for great celebration. Friends and family excitedly share the news and join with the mother and father in welcoming the new addition to the family. What if the father, however, is not really the father? The law, as one might expect, does not really address how a family is supposed to deal with such a situation, but it does offer some legal guidelines for the parents on how to proceed.

Legally Married, Legal Father

Illinois law regarding paternity assumes that a child born or conceived during a marriage is the child of the married couple, establishing legal parental rights for both the mother and the father. In a vast majority of cases, such an assumption is correct and simplifies the legal process. However, situations may arise in which the husband of the marriage is not, in fact, the biological father of the child, such as infidelity or a new relationship by the mother during an extended divorce process.

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