Why Unmarried Fathers Should Care About Paternity

While many children are born out of a traditional marriage or partnership where it is clear who the father is, that is not always so. Therefore, finding out who the child’s father is in some situations is necessary.

Paternity is legally establishing the identity of a child’s father, usually but not always through DNA testing, and it is often a critical factor in divorces regarding child support and custody, inheritance, or adoption. If you have questions about paternity, our Warrenville family law attorneys at Covert Marrero Covert LLP can help you today.

What Is Paternity?

Paternity is legally establishing who the child’s natural father is. While the man who is named on the child’s birth certificate is usually presumed to be the father, this is not always the case. When there is a question about the father’s identity, the assistance of a family law attorney is helpful to prove who the natural father is.

What Is The Illinois Definition Of A Natural Father?

The purpose of proving paternity is to determine the child’s natural father, but what does that mean under Illinois law? Illinois Statutes Chapter 750 46 states that a person is presumed to be the child’s biological father if:

  • The child’s mother and the father are or were married, even if the marriage was or may be declared invalid, and the child was conceived or born in this union.
  • After the child is born, the child’s mother and the father are married, even if the marriage may be declared invalid, and the father, with written consent, is named as the father on the child’s birth certificate.
  • The child’s mother and father signed an acknowledgment of paternity.
  • The child’s mother and father signed an acknowledgment of parentage. Or, if the natural father is a person other than the presumed father, there has been an acknowledgment of parentage and denial of paternity.

Why Should An Unmarried Father Care About Paternity?

Illinois has several vital legal consequences for being the child’s father, whether paternity is established voluntarily or involuntarily. The person who establishes paternity is held legally accountable for their portion of support and responsibility for the child. If the father will not provide financial support voluntarily, they can be forced to do so after a successful paternity lawsuit.

Also, if the child was born outside of marriage and the mother wants to give the child up for adoption, the mother cannot if the father has proved his paternity and does not consent. Claiming paternity also allows the father to gain visitation or custody rights to the child.

Furthermore, many unmarried fathers also want to establish paternity so their child can enjoy certain benefits. They are:

  • Receiving care, support, shelter, and financial aid
  • To receive an inheritance
  • To access the father’s personal information about potential health risks and to understand the profiles of the father’s family
  • To file suit for harm or death of the father that leads to a loss to the child
  • The child whose parentage is legally established also may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Illinois if the father dies in a job-related accident.

Call Our Warrenville Family Law Attorneys For Questions About Paternity

Proving paternity is critical if you are involved in a child custody or visitation dispute and want to see or even obtain custody of your child. Please contact our Warrenville family law attorneys at Covert Marrero Covert LLP at (630) 717-2783 for assistance with paternity.