Whenever a child is born outside of marriage, it is necessary to determine the paternity (also referred to as parentage) for the child before obligations and/or rights of the father can be established. Once that is established, the father gains enforceable legal rights as a parent and becomes potentially eligible for visitation rights. The father’s obligation to financially support his child will also then be established. Establishing parentage is a critical step for fathers that want to be involved in their children’s lives and for mothers that want to make sure their children receive proper financial support.
For more than 23 years, Attorney Kathryn L. Harry has helped fathers, mothers and children in paternity cases and other family law issues in DuPage County, Cook County and throughout the Chicago area. Our paternity attorneys provide experienced and compassionate legal counsel to help mothers and fathers ensure that the best interests of their children are protected.
There are a few different ways that parentage can be established in Illinois:
Acknowledgment of Paternity
This occurs when both parents are in agreement as to the identity of the biological father. Each parent is required to sign an “Acknowledgment of Paternity” form, which is a sworn statement that identifies the biological father. This may be completed right after the child is born at the hospital. After this process is completed, the father’s name is added to the birth certificate. This act, however, does not establish parental rights for the father. A Petition to Determine the Existence of a Parent-Child Relationship must be filed and a Judgment of Paternity obtained before the father can be required to pay child support or before the father may have court-order parenting time with his child.
Court Ordered Paternity
When parents disagree on the identity of the biological father, they defer to the court. This is also used when one parent refuses to sign the Acknowledgment of Paternity. The proceeding is initiated by the filing of a petition in court. Eventually, a determination will be made and an order of court will be entered establishing paternity. This often involves DNA testing and both parents making appearances in court.
There are other resources to help fathers who have children out of wedlock in the state of Illinois. Fathers can register with the Putative Fathers Registry, which is designed to help protect his rights by notifying him if the mother opts to put the child up for adoption or institutes any other legal proceedings regarding the child.
Contact Our Office
Paternity cases can become quite complicated, especially when there are disputes about parentage and one party is not being truthful or forthcoming. To ensure that your rights and the best interests of your child are protected, it is important to work with an attorney that has vast experience in this area of the law. Contact Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. today at (877) 889-4515 for a free consultation. Our paternity attorneys will examine your paternity/parentage case and advise you on the best way forward in securing your desired result. Our law office represents clients for family law cases in Cook County and DuPage County throughout Elmhurst, Lombard, Oak Brook, Hillside, Darien, Wheaton, Willowbrook, and Brookfield.