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Why Is It Important to Acknowledge Paternity in Illinois?

Posted on in Family Law

shutterstock_627696287.jpg In Illinois, legal paternity is not assumed, but rather, it must be affirmatively acknowledged. It is imperative that you understand how to establish paternity so that you do not wind up with limited rights to see your children. A failure to acknowledge paternity at the appropriate time can severely restrict your right not only to see the children, but to exercise a father’s rights with regard to their lives and welfare.

Illinois Paternity Process

The procedure to formally acknowledge paternity differs, depending on whether the father is married to the child’s mother. If the couple is married at the time of the child’s birth, then the husband is presumed by law to be the father of that child, unless the father completes a Denial of Paternity form.

If the couple is not married when the child is born, and the mother is married to someone else, her husband must complete the Denial of Paternity, and both father and the mother must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. Failure to do so will place the husband by default as the father.

If the couple is not married when the child is born and the mother is single, they must both complete the VAP.

If a VAP is not signed, the father may be summoned by Illinois Healthcare & Family Services (HFS) to participate in an administrative paternity hearing. The state agency will determine parentage based on the evidence provided. If a man has a vested interest in accepting paternity (or denying), it is in their best interests to provide all possible information. If a person does not show up to the hearing, they may likely be named the legal father by default.

Advantages to Establishing Paternity

Many are unaware that there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to acknowledging paternity versus not doing so. In Illinois, for example, without acknowledging paternity, a father may not be added to his child’s birth certificate. In many situations, this bars any right he may have to make decisions for that child, such as in medical treatment and other important decisions.

Another situation where paternity matters is if the father receives government benefits. If the father does not acknowledge paternity, the child may not be eligible to receive any federal or state benefits, such as Social Security or veterans’ benefits.

Call a Cook County Paternity Lawyer for Legal Assistance

If you have a child and need to have paternity established, a dedicated Burr Ridge, IL family law attorney can help. Once paternity has been established, our firm can also help you ensure all of your parental rights are also obtained, including allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. Call Botti Marinaccio, LTD. at 630-575-8585 to schedule a free consultation and find out what legal options you may have.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=3638&ChapterID=59

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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.

630-575-8585

2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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