Everything You Should Know About Paternity in Illinois
Parentage is a far more complicated legal issue than it used to be. Illinois law now recognizes and accounts for gender diversity in parenthood. This can result in some confusion for new parents or people who are trying to become parents. Both medical advances and improved legal protections for LGBT+ parents have changed the way parenthood is looked at from a legal perspective. There are a few ways to establish the identity of a child’s legal parents. Unmarried parents and those using certain alternative methods to become parents may need to take extra steps to make sure they are legally their child’s parent. It is best to be represented by an attorney when navigating this complex and rapidly evolving field of law.
Presumption of Parentage
If a parent is married when they give birth, their spouse will automatically be considered a parent to that baby - even if it is impossible for the spouse to be the biological parent. So, if two women are married, and one of them gives birth, her wife is considered to be her child’s other parent, just as it would be if the mother were married to a man.
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity
Signing a VAP is generally the easiest way for a child’s biological father to establish themself as the child’s legal parent. If both biological parents sign the form agreeing that they are the biological parents, the father’s name can be added to the birth certificate. This may be done at the hospital when the baby is born.
Unfortunately, only biological parents can use this form. If one of the people who is meant to be a parent to the child is not also a biological parent to the child, they may need to adopt the child or take other legal steps.
Forcing a Paternity Test in Illinois
Either biological parent can initiate court proceedings to adjudicate parentage. Both will be ordered to appear at a hearing. If the alleged father denies paternity, or the mother denies that the petitioner is the father, the court will likely order a mandatory DNA test and use the result to settle the matter.
Fathers often initiate paternity proceedings because it is the first step towards getting parenting time with their child. Mothers may file paternity cases so that their child can begin receiving the support they are entitled to from their father.
Contact a Batavia, IL, Paternity Lawyer
If you have concerns about your status as a legal parent, Van A. Larson Law, P.C., can help. An experienced and knowledgeable Kane County paternity attorney will work to bring clarity to your situation and protect the relationship you share with your child. Contact the law office at 630-879-9090 for a complimentary consultation.