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What Are the Benefits of Establishing Paternity for a Child?

Posted on in Divorce and Family Law

IL family lawyerThere are a variety of situations where parents may become involved in child custody disputes. When married parents get divorced, there is usually no question as to the identity of a child’s parents. However, when parents are unmarried, the child’s presumed father may not necessarily have legal parental rights toward the child. Matters involving child custody may become more complicated in these situations, and to ensure that parents’ and children’s rights will be protected, it may be necessary to establish paternity.

When Will Paternity Need to Be Established?

If a mother was married at the time of her child’s birth, or if she was in a marriage that ended within 300 days before the child was born, her spouse or former spouse is presumed to be the child’s legal parent. However, if a mother is unmarried when a child is born, the other biological parent will not be considered the child’s legal parent until paternity is established.

The easiest and most straightforward way to establish paternity is for the parents to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form. This can be done if both parents are in agreement about the identity of the child’s father, and a VAP can be completed at any time after the child is born.

If there is a question about the identity of a child’s father, the parents may work with child support services to determine whether a man is a child’s biological father and establish paternity. A person may also file a petition to establish paternity in family court. In these cases, a judge will usually order DNA testing, and if these tests confirm the identity of the biological father, a court order establishing paternity will be issued.

Benefits of Paternity for Children and Parents

There are multiple reasons why establishing paternity can be beneficial, including:

  • By knowing the identity of their parents, a child can have a better sense of identity and an understanding of their roots.
  • Both parents will be able to share in parental responsibilities and spend regular time with the child, ensuring that the child can have positive relationships with them.
  • Both parents will have the obligation to support the child financially, and child support orders may be created to address the child’s ongoing needs.
  • The child will have access to family medical history from both parents to ensure that they can receive the proper medical care.
  • The child will be able to receive benefits from both parents, including health insurance coverage, Social Security benefits, veteran’s benefits, and the right to receive an inheritance.

Contact Our DuPage County Paternity Lawyers

Establishing paternity can help ensure that a child's best interests will be protected. Paternity can also be a crucial component of fathers’ rights cases, and establishing parental rights toward a child will help a father make sure they can maintain positive family relationships. If you have questions about paternity, Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC can advise you of your options and help you take the correct steps to address these issues. Contact our Wheaton family law attorneys at 630-665-2500 to set up a complimentary consultation and get legal help with your case.

 

Sources:

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

https://www2.illinois.gov/hfs/ChildSupport/FormsBrochures/Pages/hfs3282.aspx

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