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Why Should I Establish Paternity in Illinois?

Posted on in Family Law

Orland Park parentage attorney

For many people, the identity of a child’s father is not established through an official legal process, but is instead assumed due to the parents' marital status. That is, a man is known to be a father because he is married to the child's mother. While this may be the case for the majority of dads, there are instances in which a child’s father must be legally identified. This is known as establishing paternity. In many cases, parents will forego establishing paternity to avoid making changes to their current lifestyle. However, these fathers often do not know the benefits and rights tied to establishing paternity.

Paternity Benefits

Establishing paternity comes with many benefits, some of which are personal, while others are financial. On a personal note, a child knowing his or her father can be important to the child’s identity and peace of mind. Some kids wish to know their father and build a relationship with him. Others simply need the information for a better sense of personal identity and to mitigate the uneasiness of not knowing their other parent. Knowing the identity of the biological father is also important for access to the father’s medical history. This can be helpful in predicting possible medical issues that come from the father’s bloodline.

From a financial standpoint, the benefits can sometimes make or break the child’s financial security. The child’s primary caregiver is typically able to receive child support payments to help raise the child in a financially sustainable manner. If the father has medical insurance from his employer, the child is often able to be included in this plan, depending on the terms of the coverage. The child also has the legal right to any benefits after the father is deceased. These include Social Security, veteran’s benefits, and/or an inheritance. 

How Is Paternity Established?

There are a few ways in which paternity may be established. The easiest way to do so is to have both parents complete and submit a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). If both parents are not willing to legally recognize the child’s father, an Administrative Paternity Order can be created and completed by HFS or an Order of Paternity can be issued in court after one of the child’s parents files a petition to establish paternity. In these cases, DNA testing will typically be performed to verify that the man in question is in fact the child's biological father.

Contact an Orland Park Family Law Attorney 

Regardless of the manner in which paternity is confirmed, professional legal help is crucial to ensure that the rights of all parties are protected. In many instances, paternity cases can become emotional, making it difficult for those involved to complete the proceedings. At Anderson & Associates, P.C., our attorneys work with mothers and fathers to establish parentage and protect parental rights, because we believe that every child should know both of their parents. If you need assistance establishing paternity in Illinois, contact our Orland Park paternity lawyers at 708-226-9904 for an consultation. 






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