Why Is Establishing Paternity Important for My Child?
For young or unmarried mothers, naming their child’s father may not be in their plan. Those who do not share a partnership or relationship with their child’s father may not wish to include him in the child’s life. There are a number of reasons why this may be true—locating the father may be difficult, the father may not be capable of having a relationship with the child, or the father may be abusive toward the mother and child. While all of these reasons have merit, many new mothers do not realize the number of benefits their child will miss out on if their father is never legally recognized. Establishing paternity may be an intimidating decision and process, but recognizing your child’s father can have a profound impact on his or her life.
Benefits of Establishing Paternity
When discussing why your child’s father should be legally recognized, in a process known as establishing paternity, the emotional benefits are often highlighted. Many people will say that your child deserves to know his or her father and have a relationship with him. In some cases this may be true, but if addiction, abuse, or other forms of neglect are involved, your child’s father may not be a good influence. Aside from the possible personal benefits, the financial benefits from naming your child’s father are often what convinces mothers to establish paternity. Your child has rights to the father’s health and life insurance benefits, social security benefits, inheritance, and in some cases, veteran or military benefits. The father may also be required to provide you with child support to help you care for your child. Naming your child’s father also gives you knowledge of their medical history. In an emergency, having this background information can sometimes be the difference between life or death. It can also help you prepare for any medical issues that your child may inherit.
What Are My Legal Options?
There are a few ways that one can establish paternity in Illinois, the most common being a Voluntary Establishment of Paternity (VAP). For fathers who are present at the birth of their child, both parents will complete and sign a VAP, recognizing this man as the child’s father. For those mothers who do not know who the father is or for men wanting proof of paternity, both the man and child can submit to a biological paternity test. A medical professional will take a DNA swab from the mother, the child, and the presumed father’s cheek. The collected DNA will then be examined and compared to see if the man’s DNA matches the child’s in any way. If the two are found to be a match, the man will be legally recognized as the child’s father by completing the proper paperwork alongside the mother.
Contact a Woodstock Family Law Attorney
In cases where a VAP is not completed by both parents, it is a good idea to seek professional legal counsel who can assist you with the paternity process. Not only will attorneys help with establishing legal fatherhood, but they will also help you determine child custody arrangements and child support requirements. The lawyers at Prime Law Group, LLC have a history of assisting Illinois families with their legal needs, from creating divorce agreements to legally recognizing a child’s father. Whether you are a mother looking for verifications of your child’s father or a man wanting proof of his parenthood, our knowledgeable McHenry County paternity lawyers can help. Call our office today at 815-338-2040 to schedule your consultation.
July 10, 2020