At first glance, it would seem as though establishing paternity is rather straightforward. After all, DNA tests are both available and accurate. However, biological paternity and legal paternity are different concepts, though with plenty of overlap. If you need to determine a child’s paternity for any reason, you should consult Chicago paternity lawyers as soon as possible.
Men hire Chicago paternity lawyers to defend their rights in court. When paternity is legally presumed, but the presumed father has doubts, he may hire a lawyer to contest his paternity and legal obligations to a child. On the other hand, a man who believes he is the biological father of a child may hire a lawyer to help him establish paternity and claim parental rights.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and children can thrive on all types of family structures. Establishing legal paternity can still be an important decision, even if the father has no interest in parenting. When children have a legal father, they are entitled to the father’s:
In some cases, establishing legal paternity coincides with discovering biological paternity. This allows children to have a more complete medical history and may support their emotional well-being.
If a mother is married to a man at the time a baby is born, Illinois law presumes that the mother’s husband is the father of the child. This presumption gives the husband all the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent, whether or not he is the biological father of the child. While this presumption covers many family types, every family is unique.
Sometimes, parents are in a relationship but not married when a child is born. In these cases, both parents typically sign a form known as a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) shortly after the baby is born.
A VAP is a common form that allows a man to take on the full responsibilities and rights of fatherhood without submitting a DNA test. Parents may also sign a VAP even if they are not together, so long as they both acknowledge the man as the father.
When there are questions about the paternity of a child and any involved party contests it, the matter can be resolved in one of two ways:
In many cases, the matter of paternity is resolved without going to court. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ conducts interviews and schedules DNA testing as needed. Based on these results, they may issue paternity orders. If the paternity case does need to go to court, both the mother and the father in question should attend. If the father misses the court date, the judge may issue paternity without him.
When you need a lawyer to represent your interests in a paternity case, do not trust just any attorney. Work with our Chicago paternity lawyers who practice exclusively in family law. At WARD FAMILY LAW, LLC, we offer free consultations before we get started on your case. If you’re ready to get answers, contact us today to schedule your appointment.
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