If you have a child born outside of a marriage, paternity can sometimes come into question. In some instances, a man will contend that he is not the father of a child. In other situations, a man will want to establish his rights and try to prove he is the father. Even if the identity of the father is unquestioned, it may be important to establish legal rights and responsibilities while the situation is uncontested to avoid bigger problems in the future.

The stakes are extraordinarily high when paternity is being established. Often, individuals who are in this situation may not know how to proceed. A Joliet paternity lawyer could review the facts of your case and help you seek a favorable outcome. Our skilled family law lawyers at Reidy Law Office LLC could advocate on your behalf and help you understand the laws regarding parentage.

Paternity should be legally established in a formal sense so that the rights and responsibilities of both parents can be enforced. Legal recognition of paternity will serve your child’s interests as well going forward. You may think that establishing legal paternity only applies to child support and parenting time; however,  it can apply to eligibility for government benefits, inheritances, and other birthrights. Reach out to learn more about how we can help your case.

Presumption of Paternity

Under a provision contained within the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 (750 ILCS 46), there can be a legal presumption of parentage. If a married woman has a baby, the marital partner is presumed to be the father.

This would also be the case if the woman in question was married or part of a civil union within 300 days of the child’s birth date. Even if these conditions are met, and the parents have no disagreements with regard to paternity, there are other steps that must be taken.

Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP)

Paternity in Joliet can be made official through the execution of a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form. This document is available at hospitals, and it must be filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services/Child Support Services (HSS/CSS).

After this step has been completed, the father’s name can be added to the child’s formal birth certificate. If the process was not initiated in the hospital, the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form can be obtained through your local county clerk, health department, public aid office (HFS), or Child Support Services.

Administrative Paternity Order

In some instances, both parents do not take all of these steps, though they may be on the same page with regard to paternity. Child Support Services could step in at some point to file an Administrative Paternity Order that would formally establish paternity. This can include an order for the parents to undergo genetic testing.

A Joliet paternity action can be initiated by the mother, the father or alleged father, the child, and/or government agencies that may have custody of a child. The circuit court judge would examine all of the documentation and make a final, legally binding determination. Our skilled legal team could help make sure your rights are protected.

Seek Help from a Joliet Paternity Attorney

There are legal steps that must be taken to establish paternity. The difficulty level will vary based upon your unique situation, but in all instances, a paternity lawyer can simplify the process for you.

When there is a paternity disagreement, legal guidance is especially important. Each case is different, and personalized attention is key. This is exactly what you receive when you choose to work with our firm. Our dedicated legal team is here to help. Speak to a diligent Joliet paternity lawyer to learn about your rights and legal options.