Paternity is the legal establishment of a relationship between a father and a child.
“Paternity may be established by acknowledgement or by DNA, the father’s signing of a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity at the hospital when the child is born. This should not be confused with whether a parent has been named on the child’s birth certificate. – Attorney Danelle Wozniak
The Illinois legislature has established the Illinois Parentage Act which sets forth the law in paternity cases. The areas of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act that cover custody, visitation, and child support are incorporated into the Parentage Act and therefore are applied.
In paternity cases, issues of child support, custody, and visitation are addressed before the Court. Either parent may bring a petition in Court to establih the relationship between the biological father and the child. Paternity establishment is required in order for a parent to obtain child support order and receive child support payments. Some of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act laws, such as laws related to child support, custody and visitation are incorporated into the Illinois Parentage Act. There have been changes to these laws in the past several years, especially concerning the establishment of paternity, whether by acknowledgement of paternity or DNA. An acknowledgment of paternity is different document from a child’s birth certificate. Many clients confuse these documents. It is important to note that just because a man’s name may appear on a child’s birth certificate does not automatically establish paternity. Conversely, just because a man refuses to sign a birth certificate does not mean that he cannot be established as the father later on if a DNA test proves he is most likely the biological parent. A father may also sign the acknowledgment of paternity voluntarily and can waive the right to a DNA test if he so chooses.
Frequently asked questions by fathers are:
What if I signed the birth certificate? What if I signed nothing? What if I think I am not the father; how can I get DNA testing? Is it too late to ask for it? I signed something saying I was the father, but now information has come to light that indicates I might not be, what can I do? If I went to court by myself on child support and an order was entered, what rights did I already give up? Can I get any of that changed? I was paying child support before even though I wasn’t court-ordered to, do I get any credit for that? I am paying child support but the mother won’t let me visit with my child, what can I do? May I ask for custody, or joint custody? How do I get my visitation? Can I prevent her from moving to another state? How do I enforce my visitation rights?
Frequently asked questions by mothers :
How do I establish paternity of my child? How can I get child support? Will the Court make the father pay for other things like medical insurance, daycare, and school expenses? Does the father have to pay for my medical costs incurred during the pregnancy? Can I receive child support retroactive to the time the baby was born? Does he have a right to visitation? Can he get custody of the child? He is threatening to take the child away from me, what can I do? Can child support be deducted directly from his paycheck? The Court already ordered that he owes child support or he owes an arrearage of child support; what do I do next to enforce or collect this? He doesn’t want to see or visit with the child, does he still have to pay child support? He isn’t paying me any child support, do I still have to let him visit with the child?