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Like most states, Illinois provides several avenues by which a man can be identified as a child’s legal father. These include marriage, if the child was born when the woman was married to the father; acknowledgement, if the man admits fatherhood in specific documents; genetic testing, followed by an order establishing paternity; or legitimation, by which both parents marry or sign documents acknowledging that the husband is the child’s legal father.

Why Is Paternity Important?

Prime Law Group, in Woodstock, Illinois, McHenry County, assists mothers, biological fathers, stepfathers and others with an interest in a child to secure the legal rights and obligations that accompany fatherhood, including:

  • Father’s rights and requirement to pay child support: Once a man is determined the legal father of a child, he can be obligated to pay child support to the mother who is caring for the child.
  • Child’s access to inheritance and benefits: Once a child has a legal father, the child gains rights to the father’s inheritance, government benefits and other financial resources from which he or she would otherwise have been excluded.
  • Father’s access to the child: Fathers who prove paternity can benefit by gaining visitation rights, obtaining partial or full custody of the child, and making decisions that affect the child’s welfare. Alternatively, if a purported father cannot prove paternity, he may be barred from access to the child and from enforcing decisions that affect the child.
  • Protection from false claims: If a purported father can prove he is not actually the child’s biological parent, he may “disestablish” paternity and be cleared of any personal or financial obligation to that child. Because of these reasons establishing paternity is important when there is any question of who is a child’s father.

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