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Do I Have to Establish Paternity for My Child in Illinois?

Posted on in Family Law

IL family lawyerIf you are expecting a child and do not anticipate having the father present in the child’s life, you may have some questions and concerns about the impact of the father’s absence. Among the issues women in this situation face are whether you should tell the father you are pregnant or list his name on the child’s birth certificate. You may be unsure whether you want to pursue child support, or whether the father will ask for parental responsibilities or parenting time. Many women are in this situation, and your concerns are normal. There is no right answer, as there are benefits but also potential drawbacks to establishing paternity. Ultimately, whether you want to do so depends on your situation.

Establishing Paternity for an Unmarried Couple

When a couple is married and the woman has a child, Illinois law presumes the husband is the child’s father. The couple does not need to establish paternity to put the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate. However, if the mother is not married, the law makes no presumption about who is the child’s father and paternity can be legally established in one of three ways:

  • Both parents sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form
  • An Order of Paternity is entered in a court by a judge
  • An Administrative Paternity Order is established by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS)

What if I Do Not Want to Establish Paternity?

If you do not want to list your child’s father on the birth certificate, you do not have to. Many women choose to not even tell the child’s father about their pregnancy due to concerns about violence or any other serious negative reaction. However, that does not mean the father will not want to try to establish paternity later if he finds out about the child.

Raising a child by yourself can be challenging and having the father listed on the birth certificate can provide benefits that you may want to consider. Once paternity is established, you can petition for child support and, if the father is interested, share parenting time. This may ease the financial and personal burden of caring for your child by yourself.

Contact a Cook County Family Law Attorney

If you are concerned about complications with paternity, child support, parental responsibilities, or other issues that may arise due to expecting a child, contact an Arlington Heights family law attorney. The lawyers with A. Traub & Associates have experience dealing with family law cases and can advise you about your legal options and help you make wise choices. Contact us today for a consultation at 847-749-4182.





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