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When Does Paternity Need to Be Legally Established in Illinois?

Posted on in Kane County family law attorney

Wheaton family lawyer for Spousal Maintenance

Every child deserves to be cared for by loving parents, and a child’s mother and father both have obligations to support their child and ensure that the child’s needs will be met. Parents have the right to be involved in raising their child and spend time with them on a regular basis. While this right may be automatically established for some parents, others may need to take steps to legally establish paternity. Doing so can ensure that the rights of the parents and the child will be protected.

Situations Where Parents May Establish Paternity

A presumption of paternity exists when a mother is in a marital relationship with a spouse. If the mother is legally married when her child is born, her spouse is presumed to be the child’s parent, and no action will need to be taken to ensure that the other parent has legal rights toward the child. This presumption also exists if a mother’s marriage ended within 300 days before her child was born, including in cases involving divorce, legal separation, annulment, or the death of the other spouse.

If there is no presumed parent, or if the presumed parent is not the child’s biological parent, paternity will need to be established. Until another person is legally recognized as the parent of the child, that person will not have the right to share in the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time, and the parent will not be obligated to pay child support.

Paternity may be legally established in cases involving:

  • Unmarried parents - If a mother is not legally married to the child’s other parent, that person will not be recognized as the child’s legal parent until paternity is established, even if a couple is living together or in a long-term relationship. Paternity may be established through a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity signed by both parents. If either parent does not agree to voluntarily acknowledge paternity, a petition to establish paternity may be filed in family court. In these cases, the court will usually order the parents and child to undergo DNA testing, and after the biological relationship between the child and the father is confirmed, a court order will be issued recognizing him as the child’s legal parent.

  • A parent who is not the mother’s spouse - While a mother’s spouse will be presumed to be the child’s parent, another person may be the actual biological father. In these cases, the non-parent spouse may submit a denial of paternity, and the biological father may be recognized as the child’s legal parent through a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity or a court order.

  • Same-sex couples - A mother’s legal spouse will be presumed to be a child’s legal parent, including in cases where the mother is in a same-sex marriage. However, if the child’s other biological parent wishes to be involved in raising the child, the couple and the other parent may take steps to establish paternity. This will allow the biological father to maintain parental rights while also giving him the obligation to provide the child with financial support.

Contact Our St. Charles Paternity Attorneys

If you have questions about the paternity of your child, or if you need to establish paternity in order to protect your parental rights or ensure that your child receives financial support, Goostree Law Group can provide the legal help you need. We will help you determine the best ways to resolve your legal issues and protect your child’s best interests. Contact our Kane County paternity lawyers at 630-584-4800 to arrange a complimentary consultation today.


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