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FAQs About Parentage in Illinois 

 Posted on January 30, 2023 in Divorce / Family Law

Kane County Paternity LawyerThe term paternity refers to the legal father-child relationship. “Parentage” is the gender-neutral term currently used in Illinois law to refer to the legal parent-child relationship. Paternity or parentage may be established in a variety of ways. In some situations, parentage is automatically established. In other cases, parents must complete certain steps to establish parentage. There are many benefits associated with establishing parentage, and parents who have not established parentage are limited with regard to their parental rights.

Do I Need to Do Something to Establish Parentage?

Parentage is assumed in certain situations. In Illinois, if a man is married to the mother of a child at the time of birth and his name appears on the birth record, parentage is automatically established. However, unmarried parents may need to take additional steps to establish parentage.

How Do You Set Up Parentage or Paternity?

In Illinois, parentage or paternity is established in one of three ways:

  • A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage can be completed and filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). This form must be signed by both parents and establishes parentage without any court involvement.

  • A parent or other party may petition the court for a judicial paternity order. The court will issue an order establishing parentage after considering all relevant evidence.

  • The HFS Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) can also establish parentage.

When is DNA Testing Needed to Establish Paternity?

DNA testing is not always necessary to establish paternity. If parents do not wish to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage, or if the identity of the child's father is not certain, then a paternity test may be necessary. DNA paternity testing is a non-invasive procedure during which a cotton swab is used to collect cheek cell samples from the inside of the mouth.

What Are Some Benefits of Establishing Parentage or Paternity?

Establishing parentage has many benefits. It can ensure that the child has access to financial support from both parents, and it can allow the non-custodial parent to have a relationship with their child. Once parentage is established for a parent, the parent may request parenting time, previously called visitation, with the child. Establishing parentage also allows a child to receive Social Security, Veteran’s benefits, inheritance rights, and health insurance from the non-custodial parent.

What Are the Consequences of Not Establishing Parentage or Paternity?

If parentage or paternity is not established, then the non-custodial parent does not have any legal rights related to their child. The parent with the majority of the parenting time also cannot petition the court for child support until the other parent’s paternity is established.

Contact our Kane County Parentage Lawyer

Whether you are a mother or a father, our Geneva family law attorney can help you with parentage and paternity matters. Call attorney Cherissa "Reese" Loire Krajniak at 630-448-2406 for a free consultation.



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