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Establishing paternity in Illinois


There are many children in Illinois who are born out of wedlock. Determining who the mother of the child is generally not difficult, as it is clear who gave birth to the child. However, determining the father of the child is not as easy of a task and is an unique area of family law in Illinois. When a child is born, there is not a foolproof way of identifying father, short of DNA testing, which is not always completely conclusive.

In Illinois, there are ways to establish paternity, however, based on the complications that can arise in determining the identity of the father of the child. A presumption of paternity is created when the father is listed on the birth certificate or if the mother and father of the child sign an acknowledgement of paternity, which is a legal document stating that the man is the father of the child.

However, this document is not always signed by the parents or no father may be listed on the birth certificate. If this is the case, then a paternity action must be filed in court to establish the father of the child. These actions can be resolved by agreement, but if an agreement is not reached, a judge may have to make a decision regarding paternity.

One method of doing this is through genetic testing. The parents will have to submit to the testing and the findings of the laboratory will be provided to the parties and court. Based on the results of the testing, the court will make a decision and determine if the man is in fact the father of the child.

Establishing paternity in Illinois can be a complicated matter, but an important one. It gives the mother the right to collect child support and also gives the father the right to have a relationship with his child. This is just general information and not legal advice. Experienced attorneys understand these complicated matters and may be able to guide one through the process.

Source: Illinois General Assembly, "750 ILCS 45/ (Illinois Parentage Act of 1984)" accessed March 31, 2015

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