When a Biological Father Wishes to Establish Paternity
When a father wishes to establish paternity, there are several important factors to consider. The official establishment of paternity allows a biological father to secure visitation or other custody rights and thereby begin to foster the development of a relationship with his child.
Rights and Benefits
When paternity is established, a biological father is granted certain rights, such as the right to have input on issues related to his child. These issues may include decisions regarding a child's education, medical care and religion. Therefore, establishing paternity can positively impact the indicators of a child's well-being, such as school performance and behavior.
Another major benefit of establishing paternity is having access to the medical history of one's biological father. The availability of family medical history allows doctors and other health care professionals to better predict any potential health issues that may arise due to inherited conditions. This can be beneficial for both the prevention and treatment of possible medical conditions.
Under Illinois law, a presumption that a man is the biological father of a child exists if:
- He was married to the biological mother when the child was born or conceived;
- He married the biological mother after the birth of the child and his name is recorded on the birth certificate as the father of the child; or
- Both parents signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage or Paternity form. If the mother is married or was married to another man when the child was born, that male must sign a Voluntary Denial of Paternity form.
The presumption of fatherhood can establish paternity; however, it may also be overcome by clear and convincing evidence. Importantly, an action brought by a person claiming to be a child's natural parent must occur within two years of the child reaching the age of majority or else it is barred under Illinois law.
In certain circumstances, the mother of the child may not agree to the establishment of the father's rights. In this case, a lawsuit can be filed to establish paternity. During this process, it is possible to request a DNA test to establish paternity.
Helping Illinois Fathers
Frequently, fathers are not thought of when it comes to rights related to parenting. However, many fathers desire to have a positive relationship with their child. If you have questions regarding the establishment of paternity, or any other family law issues, please contact our experienced Illinois family law attorneys at MKFM Law. Our firm would be happy to hear from you to discuss your case and how we can assist you. Call 630-665-7300 to schedule your consultation today.