March 17, 2017

What Establishing Paternity Does – and Does Not – Accomplish


Establishing paternity can be important for your child in a number of ways such as requiring that the father provides him or her with financial support. It also serves to protect the parents’ rights and enable the father’s access to medical information.

When Does Paternity Need to be Established?

Paternity must be established when the parents of a child were not married at the time of conception or the time of birth. If the mother was married at either one of these points, the law will presume that her husband is the father.

If a man who was not the father was married to the mother at either point, that man may need to de-establish paternity.

Three Ways to Establish Paternity

Illinois law provides for three ways that the mother or father can establish paternity:

  1. Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity completed and signed by both parents (and a witness);
  2. An administrative paternity order entered by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Child Support Services; and
  3. An order of paternity entered in court by a judge.

Both types of orders typically require the parties to submit to genetic testing to determine paternity. It is good practice to complete genetic testing before agreeing to paternity or to otherwise provide support to a child.

What Happens Once Paternity Is Established

One of the most consequential effects of establishing paternity is that the father is now financially obligated to support the child. The child may also be eligible for medical benefits, Social Security, veteran’s benefits and inheritance.

In addition, the father’s name will be added to the birth certificate.

Further Steps a Parent May Wish to Take

Establishing paternity does not guarantee that the father will have any visitation or allocation of parental responsibility with the child. Any custody issues must be brought before a court following a petition.

The court will hear testimony and determine what a suitable custody arrangement should be on the basis of what is best for the child. Alternatively, the parents may be able to work out a formal arrangement that is submitted to the judge.

Contact a Glen Ellyn, IL Paternity Lawyer

If your child’s paternity needs to be established, you may wish to seek the advice of a family law attorney. We represent mothers and fathers in paternity disputes. Having an attorney means that your case will be handled efficiently and professionally.

Establishing paternity can be the first step in creating a stable family for your child. Call the experienced DuPage County paternity attorneys at Mulyk Laho Law, LLC at (630) 852-1100 for a free 30-minute consultation.