Divorcing parents have much to arrange when it comes times to handling the dissolution of marriage. Everything from parenting time (visitation) and the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) need to be addressed. All of these aspects of divorce are important for the well-being of your child and are crucial in protecting the best interests of your entire family. For unwed parents or parents facing special circumstances during a time of separation, the issue of paternity arises, presenting them with some important decisions to make.
Paternity is typically established in one of two ways: Through the judicial court process or the Child Support Services administrative process. An interview is conducted and both the mother and the alleged father are contacted via telephone, by mail, or in person to discuss the circumstances that surround the relationship and its ties to the child they share. The alleged father may either voluntarily acknowledge paternity or be asked to submit to genetic testing to determine paternity of the child. Should the alleged father not attend the interview, Child Support Services will, by default, declare him to be the legal father.
Why Paternity Matters
Paternity is a term used to describe a legal relationship between a father and a child. If paternity is not established, a number of things are affected. First, the father’s name may not be added to the child’s birth certificate. Second, the father’s access to the child’s medical information and history is hindered. Most importantly, both the child’s and the parents’ rights are impacted. Everything from the child’s inheritance, medical, financial, and social security benefits can be thwarted, and the lack of paternity establishment can also affect the child’s rights in relation to his or her relationship with the father.
To properly establish paternity between a father and his child, both parents must complete a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. An Administrative Paternity Order can also be filed by the state of Illinois, through the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, or it can be placed into motion through court, by a judge. Regardless of how you go about the process, you can determine eligibility for paternity establishment by speaking with an attorney and Child Support Services. Utilizing both resources will allow you to file for a Paternity Order with peace of mind and the tools you need to protect your rights as a parent as well as your child’s rights.
Protecting Your Father-Child Relationship
If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed with the paternity establishment process, remember you are not alone. An experienced, competent Elmhurst family law attorney with a background in this area can help assist you with your case. Our team at Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC can help you sort out your paternity case and any other family law need today. Call us at 312-605-4041 for a special consultation.