“Paternity” simply refers to legally establishing the father of your child. Establishing paternity often becomes necessary when a child is born to unmarried parents. In the case of a child born out of wedlock, paternity must be established under state law in order for there to be a legally binding father-child relationship.

If you need assistance with establishing your father’s rights in court and asserting your parental rights, consider reaching out to a DuPage County paternity lawyer. It is an important reason to establish paternity because it is related to other important matters such as child support, child custody, and visitation. A seasoned divorce attorney at Reidy Law Office LLC could help you better understand your legal rights and options every step of the way.

Ways to Establish Paternity

An unmarried man who believes that he is the biological father of a child must establish paternity if he desires to have any parenting rights, which includes both parenting time and decision making (commonly called custody). An unwed mother, too, may want to have paternity established so as to make it possible for her to pursue child support.

If a man and woman are not married at the time their child is born, paternity can be established in one of the three ways.

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

The easiest way to establish paternity in the case of an unwed couple who has a baby is for both of them to complete a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP) form. Though most commonly completed at the hospital soon after the child is born, a VAP form can also be completed at a later date in front of a witness. Completing the VAP form creates a presumption of paternity, makes the man who signs it responsible for paying child support and makes it harder for the man to challenge paternity in the future through genetic testing.

Court Order

If the unmarried parents of a child did not sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form, then either parent may attempt to establish paternity by filing a petition and obtaining a court order. If necessary, either parent or the court may request that genetic testing be performed to establish paternity conclusively. After paternity is established, child support, parenting time, and other relevant matters can then be addressed.

Administrative Order

Our skilled attorney in DuPage County could also advise a client of a third way for paternity to be established, and that is through an administrative order. Child Support Services can create an administrative paternity order and require the putative father and the child to undergo genetic testing.

Why Establishing Paternity is Important

Our diligent paternity lawyers in DuPage County can point to the many tangible and intangible benefits of establishing fatherhood. Establishing paternity can:

  • Help the custodial parent meet the financial costs of raising a child by allowing them to seek child support
  • Give the child the ability to access the medical histories of both his or her parents
  • Allow the child to inherit from the father, as well as qualify for Social Security and other benefits
  • Establish a foundation for both parents to collaborate in their child’s upbringing and make decisions that are in the child’s best interests

Even with unmarried parents, a child can thrive when their father is identified and allowed to play an active role in their life.

Contact a DuPage County Paternity Attorney Today

When a married couple has a child, state law presumes the husband to be the child’s father for all legal purposes. Establishing paternity can be extremely complicated. A DuPage County paternity lawyer at Reidy Law Office LLC today could help you establish fatherhood and create an agreement that works best for you. Call today to schedule a consultation.