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Rolling Meadows Paternity Attorney

Rolling Meadows Attorney Helping Clients With Paternity Matters in Cook County

Establishing parentage is a fundamental aspect of many family law cases in Illinois. This is a crucial issue that may play a role in determining parental rights and responsibilities and ensuring that a child will receive the necessary financial support and other benefits. In Illinois, parentage is presumed under certain conditions, but there are situations where paternity may need to be legally established.

At Ann O’Connell Law, Ltd., we help our clients understand the nuances of legal parentage and the process of establishing paternity. We work to ensure that our clients' parental rights are protected, and our primary goal is always to find solutions that will provide for the best interests of the child. If you are seeking to establish paternity as a mother or father, or if you need to contest a presumption of paternity, we can help you understand your legal options and provide you with the representation you need to resolve your case successfully.

When Is Parentage Presumed in Illinois?

There are certain situations where the law presumes that a person is a child's legal parent. These include:

  • Motherhood: When a woman gives birth to a child, she will be considered the child's legal parent unless she has signed a gestational surrogacy agreement with the child's intended parent(s).
  • Marriage: If a child is born to a married couple, the mother's spouse is presumed to be the child's legal parent. Notably, the law does not make any distinction regarding the gender of the mother's spouse, so the presumption of parentage will apply to a same-sex spouse.
  • Divorce, separation, or death: A presumption of parentage exists if a child was born within 300 days after the end of a couple's marriage. An ex-spouse will be a presumed parent if the couple got a divorce or legal separation or if they died during the mother's pregnancy.

If none of the above conditions are true, or if either party believes someone other than a presumed parent is a child's biological parent, parentage must be established. Options for establishing paternity include:

  • Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP): The most straightforward method involves the signing of a VAP form by both parents. This can be done at any time after the child's birth, and forms will usually be available at hospitals. If both parents are certain about the identity of the child's father, they may agree to sign this form and establish a legal relationship between the father and the child. If anyone other than a presumed parent is the biological father of the child, a VAP must be accompanied by a denial of paternity stating that the presumed parent is not the child's biological parent.
  • Administrative order: The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services can establish paternity through administrative processes. Department personnel may work with both parents to examine their situation, establish facts that indicate parentage, or conduct paternity testing. They may then issue an order establishing parentage.
  • Judicial order: If there is a dispute regarding paternity, either party may file a petition to establish parentage in family court. Most of the time, a judge will order DNA testing, and if these tests confirm a biological relationship between a father and child, a parentage order will be put in place.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

When a legal relationship between a parent and child is established, this can provide benefits for all parties involved:

  • Benefits for the child: They will have a legal link to both parents, which will allow them to access medical information about their parents and extended family members, receive financial support, and be eligible for benefits Social Security and health insurance.
  • Benefits for the mother: If the mother will be the primary caretaker of the child, she can receive child support from the other parent.
  • Benefits for the father: Legal parentage will provide a father with the legal rights to share in the allocation of parental responsibilities and spend reasonable amounts of parenting time with the child. He will be able to maintain an ongoing relationship with the child and be involved in important decisions in the child's life.

How an Attorney Can Assist With Parentage Issues

Family law cases involving legal parentage can be complex, and parents will want to make sure they take the correct steps to protect their rights and provide for their child's best interests. At Ann O’Connell Law, Ltd., we can provide invaluable assistance in these cases by:

  • Facilitating the legal process: We can help parents understand the steps to take to establish or challenge parentage, including preparing and submitting the necessary paperwork and providing representation in court proceedings.
  • Advising on parental rights and responsibilities: We can explain the implications of establishing parentage, including the financial obligations that may apply to a parent and the steps that can be taken to protect parental rights.
  • Protecting rathers' rights: In cases where a father's parentage is questioned or needs affirmation, we can help ensure that they will be able to maintain an ongoing relationship with their child and be as involved in their child's life as possible.

Contact Our Rolling Meadows, IL Paternity Attorney

Whether you need to establish paternity, challenge presumed parentage, or navigate the complexities of child custody and child support, the legal team at Ann O’Connell Law, Ltd. can provide the guidance and representation you need. Contact us at 847-859-6222 to discuss these issues in a free consultation.

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