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Why Should Fathers Establish Legal Paternity in Illinois?

 Posted on September 21, 2020 in Illinois Family Law Attorney

paternity, Arlington Heights family law attorneyIn Illinois, a man who is married or in a civil union with a child’s mother at the time of birth is typically presumed to be the child’s legal father automatically. However, this is not the case for unmarried fathers, regardless of your relationship with the child’s mother. Whether you are already living or cooperating with the child’s mother to care and provide for the child, or the mother is contesting your parental rights, it is important for you to take the necessary steps to establish legal paternity for your sake, and more importantly, for the child’s.

The Benefits of Establishing Paternity in Illinois

Establishing legal paternity has significant benefits for both you and your child. Perhaps the most important benefit for you as the father is that you will have parental rights, meaning that as long as the court has not found you to be an unfit parent, you have the legal standing to request parenting time and parental responsibilities, and you will have a voice when establishing a parenting agreement with the child’s mother. This is especially important if the mother is trying to keep you out of the child’s life, but it is a good idea even if you currently have a civil or romantic relationship with the mother, because it can be difficult to predict how that relationship may change in the future.

Your child will also benefit from establishing paternity, because it ensures that you will be obligated to pay child support and contribute to the child’s daily needs at least until he or she reaches the age of 18. When you are legally confirmed as the father, your child can also be covered under your health insurance benefits, as well as be named as a beneficiary of life insurance, Social Security, and veteran’s benefits. Your child will also be legally entitled to a portion of your assets in the event that you die without a will.

How to Establish Legal Paternity

If you and the child’s mother are in agreement about your involvement in your child’s life, the easiest way to establish paternity is to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form and file it with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. You can do this at the hospital as soon as your child is born and have your name added to the birth certificate, or at any point after the child’s birth. If the mother is contesting your paternity or involvement, you may need to take a DNA test and present your case to the court to obtain an Order of Paternity.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Paternity Lawyer

At the Cosley Law Office, we are committed to helping fathers protect their rights and ensuring that children benefit from the support of both parents. We can guide you through the process of establishing paternity and represent you in court if necessary. Contact an Arlington Heights family law attorney today for a free consultation at 847-253-3100.



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