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Kane County Paternity Lawyers

Kane County Paternity Lawyers

Family Law Attorneys Serving St. Charles and Geneva Explain How to Legally Establish Fatherhood

Illinois law recognizes every child's right to have a relationship with and to receive financial support from both parents, regardless of the age or marital status of the parents. However, there are times when a parent does not care to fulfill their obligations to a child and legal action must be taken.

At Weiler & Lengle P.C., we place a high value on the parent-child relationship and are glad to help you establish paternity for your child. Once paternity has been established, we can also assist you in filing actions related to child support, parenting time, and decision-making authority.

Illinois Parentage Act

The Illinois Parentage Act (750 ILCS 46), which took effect January 1, 2016, details how the relationship of a man to a child or a woman to a child shall be legally established. In most cases, a woman establishes herself as the legal mother of a child through birth, while an unwed father must go through a legal process to establish parentage. This act also provides for establishment of parentage in cases involving children of assisted reproduction, gestational surrogates, and adoption.

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

When a child's mother and father are not married, the man's paternity must be legally established. The easiest way to do this is for both parents to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. This is often done at the hospital when the child is born, but it can also be completed separately and filed with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). A father may want to have a DNA performed before signing a VAP. The VAP puts the father's name on the child's birth certificate, and the father now has the legal duty to financially support the child as well as the right to request a share of parenting responsibilities.

Establishing Adjudicated Paternity Through Court Action

In the absence of mutual agreement about paternity, either a mother or father can file a paternity action in court to establish legal paternity. A person or agency such as the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) providing physical care or financial support to a child may also file a paternity suit in order to obtain the parent's support for the child.

A DNA test is the most common means of proving of fatherhood. Illinois law gives the court the authority to order DNA testing. If the father refuses testing, the court can declare the paternity of the father against his wishes or enforce the testing order. If the mother is contesting the paternity, the court can declare the paternity of the father against the mother's wishes or enforce the testing order.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Once paternity has been established, either parent may petition the court regarding child support and allocation of parental responsibilities under the guidelines laid out in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5). Either parent may request primary physical care or custody of a child, parenting time or visitation, and all or part of the authority to make major decisions on behalf of the child.

Paternity Attorneys in St. Charles, Illinois

If you need assistance with a paternity action, the family law firm of Weiler & Lengle P.C. can assist you in negotiating an agreement and obtaining a court order to ensure payment. Contact us in our St. Charles office at 630-382-8050. We serve clients in Kane County including the communities of Batavia, Elgin, Geneva, Pingree Grove, and St. Charles.

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