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Yes. But you cannot officially establish your child’s parentage until he or she is born. In other words, though you might know who fathered your unborn child, that man does not have parental rights until the child is born and if you are not currently married to him or were not married when the child was conceived until he officially acknowledges his parentage or the court makes this determination.

It is important to note that although the term “paternity” is often used in this type of discussion, the Illinois Parentage Act contains gender-neutral language. When a child is born, any individual who was married to the child’s mother at the time of conception or birth has automatic parental rights to the child, regardless of his or her gender.

Prenatal Paternity Testing

There are a few different ways to determine paternity before a child is born. The most accurate method is known as Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity (NIPP). It can be performed any time after the eighth week of pregnancy by taking a sample of the alleged father’s blood and the mother’s blood and comparing it to the fetus’ DNA that can be found in the mother’s bloodstream.

Other methods of prenatal paternity testing include amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.

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Illinois child custody attorney, Illinois paternity lawyerWhether you are in an unmarried partnership, are in the midst of a divorce, or are planning to re-marry in the near future and share a child with someone else, paternity establishment is important. It ensures your rights as a parent are protected and that your child’s rights are protected as well. Without establishing paternity, your child’s medical and financial benefits might be at stake, and your parenting privileges can be compromised.

The state of Illinois utilizes various methods to help parents establish paternity, including personal interviews, genetic testing, and judicial court hearings, when necessary. However, you can opt to complete something called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (also called a VAP) if you would like to establish paternity in a simple, straightforward manner. This is typically done right at the hospital when the child is born, although a VAP may be completed, signed, and witnessed at any time for any child born to unmarried parents.

VAP Requirements and Where to Get One

You will find instructions for how to complete the VAP on the front and back of the form, as well as a list of the parents’ rights and responsibilities. To properly complete the form, you will be required to provide information about both parents and the child, and you must also have a witness present to sign and date the form beneath the parents’ signatures. Your witness must be at least 18 years of age and will need to provide their full name, address, and telephone number. It is common practice for the hospital to provide you with a VAP when your child is born if you are not married at the time of the birth, but you can request one at any time at any County Clerk, Human Service, or Child Support Regional Office.

The Purpose of the VAP

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois family law attorney, Illinois paternity lawsYou may have heard the term parentage used to discuss laws that concern parenting in the world of family law. Parentage laws are also known as paternity laws, and they have continued to evolve in the state of Illinois in order to more accurately reflect and meet the needs of diverse families.

Although the laws change, their purpose and the concept behind them remains the same: Paternity laws exist to govern and protect parents and their rights, as well as the rights of the children and family as a whole. Some issues that Illinois parentage laws touch on include the following:

  • College expenses in child support;
  • Civil unions and gender neutrality;
  • Same-sex adoptions; and
  • DNA testing and its potential effect on the child.

Paternity Protects the Child and Parent

The paternity laws the state has in place are there to protect the best interest of the child and the parent. Paternity is a word used to describe a legal relationship between a father and his child. When two parents are unmarried and a child is conceived between the two of them, this sometimes leads to various disputes once they decide to separate or marry someone else. If paternity is not properly established, the rights of the father and the child are at stake. Without legal paternity establishment, the following issues arise:

  • The father’s name will not be on the child’s birth certificate;
  • Important family medical information may be inaccessible; and
  • The child may not receive the range of benefits they are entitled to, including inheritance, veterans, and social security benefits, as well as basic financial and medical support.

Establishing Paternity

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