Establishing paternity of a child is important for several reasons, both emotional and financial. The most obvious financial reason to prove a child’s paternity is to qualify for court-ordered child support payments. In most cases, without proof of paternity a court will not be obliged to require child support payments. According to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, once paternity is established, a child has legal recourse and rights. Among these are insurance benefits, veteran benefits, and social security benefits, when applicable. Without proof of paternity, a child may not be able to qualify for half of the state-sponsored money to which he is entitled.
There are also health reasons that a family would want to prove paternity of a child, according to state officials. Among these is the family’s ability to access health records that can reveal genetic dispositions to certain diseases or conditions. Without a paternity test, doctors may miss crucial information to treat and take care of patients.
In Illinois, paternity may be established in a number of ways. The first, of course, is a voluntary acknowledgment form signed by both of the child’s parents at the hospital when the child is born—or at any other point during the child’s life. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services administers this acknowledgement. Another method of establishing paternity by genetic testing, as referred to above.
Genetic testing, colloquially known as paternity testing, should be administered by a professional. In 2008, over-the-counter paternity tests hit drugstores across the country. According to US News and World Report, these tests are considerably less expensive than a test administered by a professional lab, but they have their drawbacks. According to childpaternitytest.com, these tests do not always hold up in court, regardless of their surging popularity and the manufacturers’ claims that they are 99.9 percent accurate.
If you or someone you know has questions about paternity testing or how to move forward with a child support claim, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney today.