Every child has the right to be supported by both a mother and a father. There are some cases in which this is unable to happen due to the death of a parent. However, in cases where two parents are alive, both should be responsible for the upbringing of the minor. Unwed couples often have a more difficult time raising a child together, especially if the alleged father is denying paternity of the child. Most men deny a child because they do not want to assume the financial responsibility of raising a baby with a woman to whom he is not married.
In these cases, a mother can ask the court to order a paternity test to prove that a man is the father of her child. Once paternity is established, the mother can move on to file a petition for child support, and the couple can work on visitation rights of the father.
Why is it Important to Establish Paternity?
Unmarried parents in Illinois must establish paternity if they birth a child before marriage or else the father cannot be llsted on the child’s birth certificate. The child will suffer as well if paternity is not established because he or she might not have:
- Health insurance benefits through the father;
- Financial support;
- A complete identity;
- A complete history of any medical issues that could be genetically inherited; and
- Inheritance or Social Security benefits from the father.
In addition, children who grow up without a father in their lives are more likely to act out in school, become a drug addict or alcoholic, or get in trouble with the law and wind up in prison.
What is the Process for Determining Paternity?
Fathers who know they are the parent of a child but are not married to the mother are able to be added to the birth certificate if they fill out a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) document. The state of Illinois provides the VAP document at hospitals at the time of birth, child support offices, and online, among other places. Once the document is filled out by both parents and filed, a father can become the legal parent to a child.
If a father is denying parenthood, an Order of Paternity can be entered by the court. Before doing so, the court could require both parents to undergo a paternity test. The process involves cheek swabs of child, mother, and alleged father for DNA comparison. If the man is determined to be the father, he may be ordered to pay for the test, but if he is not the father, the mother of the child will pay for the test.
After determining the paternity of a child, the parents—with assistance from the court—can agree on terms of:
- Child support;
- Allocation of parental responsibilities; and
- Visitation between the father and child.
A qualified family law attorney can be a valuable asset throughout the process of establishing paternity and the related concerns.
Contact a St. Charles, IL Paternity Lawyer
If you or someone you know needs help establishing paternity or agreeing to parenting responsibilities, the team at Weiler & Lengle, P.C. can guide you through the process. To schedule an appointment with an experienced Kane County paternity claim lawyer, call 630-382-8050 today.