Paternity Determinations in Illinois
There are several important reasons why a single parent should legally determine paternity, such as to obtain support or to establish a family relationship. Furthermore, there are numerous ways in which paternity determinations can be initiated and resolved. If you are involved in a paternity dispute, it is important to understand the different ways legal paternity may be determined in Illinois.Parent and Child Relationship
The parent and child relationship is defined as the legal relationship existing between a child and his or her natural or adoptive parents. This is important because the law confers or imposes rights, privileges, duties, and obligations on this relationship. Illinois specifically states that it includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship.
Presumption of Paternity
Under Illinois law, a presumption, rebuttable only by clear and convincing evidence, that a man is the natural father of a child exists if:
- He and the child's natural mother are or had been married and the child was born or conceived during the marriage; or
- After birth, he and the child's natural mother marry and he is named as the child's father on the birth certificate.
A conclusive presumption that a man is the natural father of a child exists if:
- He and the child's natural mother have signed an acknowledgment of paternity; or
- He and the child's natural mother have signed an acknowledgement of parentage.
As the above indicates, it is possible to come to an agreement in regards to paternity. If the mother and person alleged to be the father are not married or in a civil union, and no other male is listed on the child's birth certificate, the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form (found here) can be completed.
If there is a dispute over paternity, an action to determine the existence of the father and child relationship may be initiated. This action may be brought by:
- The child;
- The mother;
- A pregnant woman;
- Any person or public agency who has custody, or is providing or has provided financial support, to the child;
- The Department of Healthcare and Family Services, if providing financial support; or
- A man presumed or claiming himself to be the father.
The complaint must name the person alleged to be the father. In order to make the determination, the mother, child, and alleged father must each submit to DNA testing. If one of these individuals refuses to submit to the test, the court can rule against that person on the paternity matter. The test will be administered by an expert in examining blood or tissue types appointed by the court. Following the test, the expert will prepare a written report of the test results. Additionally, the expert can be called to testify in court and be subject to cross-examination by the parties.
Illinois Family Law Attorneys
If you are involved in a paternity dispute, there are several legal issues and consequences that are important in relation to the determination of paternity. Contact the skilled family law attorneys at MKFM Law with any questions you have related to paternity issues at 630-665-7300. We have extensive experience representing individuals on all sides of these disputes.