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Paternity Terms to Know and Understand

Posted on in Paternity

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois paternity lawyerIf you are involved in a paternity-related legal case, whether you are a mother who wants to prove her child's paternity or a man who wants to establish legal paternity rights to his child, there are a few key terms to know and understand. Although paternity might seem like a simple concept, it can become complicated from a legal perspective. If you have questions about your legal rights as a mother or a father in Illinois and how you can establish paternity of your child, work with an experienced Illinois paternity attorney.

Who Is a Legal Father?

A legal father is the father who has legal parental rights to a child. This includes the right to make “big” decisions on the child's behalf, such as decisions about the child's medical care or schooling, as well as the right to seek court-ordered parenting time with the child and child support from the child's other parent to cover the expenses related to raising the child.

When a baby is born to a married couple, the husband is automatically the child's legal father. This is true regardless of whether he is the child's biological father, which can lead to a situation where a man is financially responsible for a child that is not actually related to him. In a case like this, it may be possible for a man to challenge his status and have his name removed from the child's birth certificate.

A father who is not married to his child's mother when the child is born can also be a legal father, but he must take an extra step that married fathers do not. He must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity Form, which states that he is the child's father and accepts the legal responsibilities that come with this role. By signing this form, the father waives the right to seek a DNA test to determine whether he actually is the child's biological father.

Who Is a Putative Father?

A putative father is a man whose legal paternity to a child has not been established. Putative fathers can become legal fathers by taking the necessary steps to establish their paternity. They also have the right to know if their alleged children are placed for adoption, which is a right protected by the Illinois Putative Father Registry.

If a putative father does not register with the registry within 30 days of his child's birth or if he does register, but fails to begin the legal process of establishing paternity within the 30 days beyond that, his parental rights may be waived permanently.

Work with a Kane County Paternity Attorney

If you are a father who needs to establish his paternity or a mother who wants to know more about the process of establishing your child's paternity, work with an experienced Kane County family attorney. Our team has experience working on paternity cases and can extend this experience to help you. Schedule your free legal consultation with us today.



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