The importance of establishing paternity

Unmarried couples who have a child together in Illinois must establish paternity in order for the father’s name to be listed on the birth certificate. There are numerous benefits for both the child and the father once paternity is ascertained, and it is an easy process as long as both partners are in agreement.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the easiest way to establish paternity is to fill out a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form. This occurs when the biological parents both agree, and are available, to sign the form. A VAP form can be filled out at the hospital at the time of the birth or at a later time.  The other option is to contact the court and have it determine who the biological father of the child is.

Even if it is a process, it is worth legally naming the father. According to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the child has rights to a number of information and benefits. One is the child may be able to access medical information which is advantageous for a variety of reasons. Paternity can also help the child financially in the future. He or she is able to receive:

  • Life insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Potential inheritance
  • Social security benefits
  • Veteran’s benefits if the father was in the military 

Whether or not the biological father is required to pay child support is typically determined by the courts. Visitation rights and custody issues are also determined by a judge.

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