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How can you establish paternity in Illinois?

41732438_S.jpgNo two families are alike; however, many families encounter similar family law issues. For some Illinois fathers, this means taking steps to either prove or disprove paternity. Typically, when the other of a child is not married, certain steps must be taken to validate paternity of the child. When a mother claims that a man is a father, this must be proven by a DNA test if the man does not voluntarily sign a statement that he is the father. Additionally, a paternity test is needed when a man believes he is a father and is attempting to assert his fathers' rights.

How can you establish paternity in Illinois? There are three ways paternity can be established. First, the parents of the child can complete, sign and have witnessed the signing of a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity Form. Next, the State of Illinois' Department of Healthcare and Family Services can issue an Administrative Paternity Order. Finally, a judge could issues an order of paternity.

Why is it is important to establish paternity? There are many reasons why a man would seek to establish paternity or a mother asserts paternity. This typically includes reasons such as ensuring that the child has the right to a legal father-child relationship, to add a father's name to the birth certificate, protect the rights of both parents, enable access to family medical information and to secure the child's benefits such as financial and medical support, Social Security, veteran's benefits and inheritances.

If the administrative or judicial process is need to establish paternity, it is important to understand how these processes are carried out. When the administrative process is used, an interview will be conducted in order to collect information from the mother of the child. Then, an interview with the father will commence, determining if he is willing to sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity or if it will be necessary to schedule a DNA test. When the judicial process is used, both the mother and the alleged father will be notified when the hearing will be.

If you seek to establish paternity, it is important to understand what this means and what the process entails. This can be a difficult time for parents; thus, it is vital to fully aware of your rights and how best to protect the interests of the child throughout the process.

Source: Illinois.gov, "Paternity Information You Should Know," accessed Oct. 15, 2017

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