Parentage

Paternity Actions

Parentage is the legal relationship between a parent and a child of unwed parties. Parentage cases are filed by either the mother or the father of a child born out of wedlock. Her giving birth establishes a mother’s parentage. However, a father’s parentage must be legally established in Illinois. In order to enforce a father’s rights you must file a case and seek allocations of parental responsibilities.

Scott W. Sheen & Associates is prepared to address the complex issues associated with parentage cases. Typically, a father will bring the parentage case to establish that he is the legal father so that he may request parental responsibilities or parenting time with the child. A mother will bring a parentage case to prove that a man is the child’s father so she can initiate the legal proceedings for child support.

Our family law attorneys are dedicated to helping you establish parentage and seek the allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, or the parenting plan that is in your child(ren) best interests.
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Paternity is the legal relationship between a father and his child. In Illinois, being a child’s biological father does not automatically establish a legally binding relationship, nor does it grant the biological father any rights.

If a child is born out of wedlock, “the father is not considered the legal father of the child, even if the parents live together and plan to be married.”

How is parentage established?

There are three ways to establish parentage:

  • Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form
  • An Administrative Paternity Order
  • An Order of Paternity is established and entered in court judicially

If parents are not married at the time of a child’s birth, both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form at the time of delivery. This form can be completed at the hospital when the child is born or signed at a later date. The VAP must then be filed and accepted by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

A common misconception is that executing a VAP when a child is born grants the father parental rights. In Illinois, a VAP does not provide parental responsibility or parenting time rights to the father. It only serves as a basis for child support to be initiated. Allocation of parental responsibilities is presumed to be with the mother. The alleged biological father may petition the courts for allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time rights.

If parents are not sure who the child’s biological father is, do not sign the VAP. Establishing paternity by DNA testing is a better option.

DNA Paternity Tests

Placing the Father’s Name on the Birth Certificate

A single father’s name cannot be put on a birth certificate unless both parents have signed the VAP. A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage that accompanies a birth certificate has critical legal implications. Based on the Vital Records Act, a father’s name should not be entered without his consent.

“Unless otherwise provided in this Act, if the mother was not married to the father of the child at either the time of conception or the time of birth, the name of the father shall be entered on the child’s birth certificate only if the mother and the person to be named as the father have signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form in accordance with subsection.”

A family lawyer is invaluable in ensuring your right, and best interests are protected. Your family can depend on Scott W. Sheen & Associates for a strong and caring advocate. Our experienced attorneys will provide the legal guidance you need to resolve your family issue effectively.

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