When you have a child with someone outside of marriage in Illinois, you need to take certain steps if you wish to have legal rights over your son or daughter. Before you obtain these rights or have your name printed on your child’s birth certificate, you need to establish legal paternity.
According to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, establishing paternity offers benefits for both you and your child. It gives you the ability to pursue parenting time or visitation. It also gives your child important information about medical history and eventual access to your Social Security or military benefits, if applicable. So, how might you go about doing it?
1. By completing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity
Arguably the simplest way to establish paternity in Illinois is to have you and your child’s other parent fill out and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity through the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
2. Through an Administrative Paternity Order
Another way to establish legal paternity in Illinois involves having the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Child Support Services Division do so.
3. Through an Order of Paternity
Sometimes, you may need to go to court to determine paternity. In this scenario, you or your child’s other parent must file a petition, attend a hearing, and often, undergo genetic testing to determine parentage.
Some of the above options may require you to provide DNA and take a test to determine paternity. These tests determine whether you fathered the child in question with 99.9% certainty.