Archive for the ‘Paternity’ Category

Establishing the Father-Child Relationship Under Illinois Law

February 14th, 2015 at 10:23 am

father-child relationship, Chicago family law attorneysIt is easy to establish the parent-child relationship between a birth mother and her baby. After all, the only legal requirement is proving that she gave birth to the child. Establishing paternity, however, is not always as simple.

Illinois law presumes paternity if:

  • The man and the child’s natural mother were married at the time of conception;
  • After the child’s birth, the man and the child’s natural mother marry and he is named (with his written consent) on the birth certificate as the father; or
  • The man and the child’s natural mother have signed a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity or other acknowledgment of parentage approved by Illinois law.

If the presumption of paternity arises due to marriage, it can only be overcome by clear and convincing evidence. If the presumption involves a signed acknowledgment of paternity or parentage then that presumption is conclusive unless the acknowledgment has been legally rescinded within a certain time period.

Acknowledging and Challenging Paternity

The easiest way to establish paternity when the man is not married to the child’s mother is by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity at the hospital when the child is born. Both parents must sign the form in front of a witness who is at least 18 years old, who also signs the form. If either parent wants to rescind this acknowledgment, he or she must submit a rescission form to the state Department of Healthcare and Family Services within 60 days of signing the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity.

Once the 60-day period has passed, it is very difficult to disestablish paternity. An acknowledgment of paternity can be challenged in court, but only for fraud, duress or material mistake of fact. The challenging party has the burden of proof.

Paternity can be established voluntarily, or it can be established by a court. The law permits certain parties to bring a legal action to determine the father-child relationship, including:

  • The child;
  • The child’s mother, including when she is pregnant;
  • Any person or public agency with custody of, or providing financial support to, the child; or
  • A man presumed or alleging himself to be the child’s father.

These various parties will likely have different reasons for establishing paternity. Once paternity is established, a parent has certain legal rights and obligations, including custody, visitation, and contributing to the child’s financial support. If you want to bring a legal action establishing–or challenging–paternity, contact one of our Chicago, IL paternity lawyers today. From offices in Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, Orland Park, and Chicago, Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you with your paternity matters throughout Illinois.