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How Long Do I Have to Establish Paternity in the State of Illinois?

 Posted on May 23, 2022 in Paternity

St. Charles paternity lawyerEstablishing paternity in Illinois is essential for many reasons. Not only do parents have legal rights to their children, but many parents wish to establish legal parentage as a way to feel bonded to their children. If the parents of a child were unmarried at the time of the birth, a father would have to obtain legal paternity. With paternity comes legal rights to the child, including custody and the ability to make crucial decisions throughout the child’s life. 

What is Paternity?

Paternity is the legal term for the relationship between a father and child. When a mother gives birth, there is no question that the child belongs to her. However, there is no natural way to determine the father of a child without established paternity or a DNA test. Paternity does not always refer to the biological father, either. A parent can obtain legal rights through adoption. 

Why Should I Establish Paternity?

An unmarried father can face hurdles with his legal rights to the children born out of wedlock. These issues arise because paternity has not been established. There are many reasons that fathers choose to establish paternity, including:

  • The child’s right to each parent’s life insurance policies, social security, or veterans benefits
  • A first step toward the father having the authority to make legal and medical decisions for the child 
  • The affirmation of the father-child relationship

An example of the importance of establishing paternity includes a father’s right to challenge the mother’s ability to relocate the child or withhold visitation. Without paternity, the mother has full legal rights and can refuse a father visitation, custody, or a say in where the child lives. However, if paternity is established, the father will have the legal standing to ask for and establish visitation and custody rights

Paternity Timeline to Follow

If you are a father looking to establish paternity, there are a few routes that you can take. Parents must establish paternity within the first 20 years of a child’s life. The first way to establish paternity is through singing a VAP, or Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. This document must be signed by both the mother and father, indicating that the father figure can claim his paternal rights. This form can be filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and requested at the hospital when the child is born.

The second way a father can obtain paternity rights is through an administrative paternity order. This order is typically filed by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The administrative order is similar to a judicial Order of Paternity, which is where the court exercises its power in requesting a paternity test to be done for a child.

Speak With an Experienced Kane County Paternity Lawyer

If you require legal assistance with establishing paternity in Illinois, our experienced Kane County paternity lawyer can help. At Weiler & Associates, Inc., our firm can help you negotiate with other family members, obtain the correct paperwork to file for parentage, and lead you to obtain legal rights for your children. Please contact us today at 630-331-9110



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