Through the Illinois Parentage Act, the State of Illinois recognizes that every child has a right to the physical, mental, emotional, and financial support of his or her parents. The Act, provides for the establishment of parent/child relationship by the consent of the parties or by the filing of a paternity suit (requiring a paternity test) to determine the parent/child relationship.
There are a few situations in which paternity is presumed under the Act. Paternity is presumed when a man is married to the child’s natural mother and the child is either born or conceived during the marriage. Paternity is also presumed when a man marries the child’s natural mother after the child’s birth, and he is identified as the father on the birth certificate (with his consent). A third situation where the presumption of paternity arises is when a man and the child’s mother sign an acknowledgement of parentage or paternity.
If the man who is legally presumed to be the father under the Act is not in fact the natural father, an action can be brought to “rebut the presumption” (i.e. prove he is not the child’s natural father). This is typically done by the use of DNA testing.
In some cases, no presumptions establishing a father may apply under the Act, or the man presumed to be the father under the Act is not in fact the child’s natural father. In such cases, an action can be brought to establish the paternity of the man who is alleged to be the natural father.
A paternity action is a formal process involving the court (a lawsuit). Notice must be given to the alleged natural father, as well as the presumptive father, if one exists. Once paternity is established, additional issues, such as custody, parenting schedules, support, and health insurance, need to be considered and determined. These matters are decided in the same way these issues are handled during a divorce proceeding. Each situation is unique and will require careful preparation.
Whether you are a mother or a father, if you are facing issues regarding paternity, our attorneys would be happy to address any concerns you may have.
If you are concerned about establishing paternity or denying paternity, we can help. Contact us today to find out what your rights are.