Establishing paternity is always important. We understand that some parents are reluctant to be named on a birth certificate, but the benefits of establishing paternity far outweigh any potential negative consequences. If you have questions about how this process works, a Tazewell County paternity lawyer from our firm can help you.
How is Paternity Established in Illinois?
If a couple is married when the child is born, both of their names are going to go on the birth certificate. This establishes paternity. If the couple is not married, then it will probably be necessary to fill out a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, or VAP. Someone can sign a VAP even if they are not married or in a civil union with the mother. Non-citizens of the United States can also sign. When a VAP is properly filled out with all of the needed information in front of a witness, then paternity can be confirmed.
If the father is unwilling to sign a VAP, you may need to go to court. A court can order someone to take a paternity test. Even if a man breaks up with a woman before their child is born, he is still responsible for supporting that child. Once paternity is determined it can be easier to devise a child support agreement.
What Are the Benefits of Establishing Paternity?
Establishing paternity is beneficial for everyone involved. The child is now:
- Eligible for benefits through the father
- Able to learn about the father and his side of the family’s medical history and potential health risks
- Allowed to be named as a beneficiary on policies like life insurance
- Entitled to a relationship with their father and his family
For a father, the benefits are perhaps even more valuable. Once paternity is settled, a father has:
- Guaranteed rights to visit and spend time with their child
- The chance to forge an important connection with their child
- The right to travel with their kid
- Legal rights to object if the child is put up for adoption by the mother
- The ability to ask for child support if they are the custodial parent
- Access to a minor child’s medical and school records
It can be difficult to exercise your rights as a father without establishing paternity first.
What Are My Obligations After Establishing Paternity?
You also have obligations once the fatherhood of the child is established. The father of a child will be responsible for:
- Making child support payments
- Visiting with or caring for the child at certain times
- Any other support of the child deemed necessary
If you do not offer enough support, the mother of your child may take you to court.
Meet With Our Family Lawyers Today
If you have any questions about establishing paternity or fighting for your parental rights, we can help you. Schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable legal team and learn more about what Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C. can do for you and your family.