Parentage in Illinois - Understanding Your Rights, Establishing Paternity, and Child Support Issues - DuPage County Divorce Attorney | Bloomingdale Family Law Lawyers
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Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


1730 Park Street, Suite 202, Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: 630-420-1000

Parentage in Illinois - Understanding Your Rights, Establishing Paternity, and Child Support Issues

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Illinois parentage lawyersParentage is the legal relationship between a child and their parents - both mother and father. Of course, parentage issues usually address matters relating to the father since, in the state of Illinois, paternity is not assumed when the parents are not married. Still, there are issues pertaining to mothers addressed under the Illinois Parentage Act. The following explains further, and provides details on establishing paternity, your rights as a parent, and how to address child support issues.

Understanding Your Rights as a Parent

Under the Illinois Parentage Act, every child’s right to receive mental, physical, and emotional support from each parent. From this, parents can conclude that their rights are, in actuality, privileges. Further, these rights are not in place to benefit the parent; they are there to protect the best interest of the child. Yet the best interests of the child and the rights of the parent do intersect. A child’s right to receive physical and emotional support from each parent provides the father with the right to pursue parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities, and the child’s right to receive financial support from each parent gives a supporting parent the right to pursue child support.

Establishing Paternity

Because Illinois does not assume paternity with unwed parents, parents who are not married must establish paternity before their rights can be enforced. More specifically, biological fathers must establish paternity if they wish to exercise and enforce their right to an allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, and mothers must seek an establishment of paternity if they wish to exercise their right to pursue child support. Either parent can go about this in one of three ways:

  • Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) - used when both parents agree on the child’s paternity;
  • Going to court - used when parents disagree about the child’s paternity. Generally complex and often requires the assistance of an attorney, this option is the most suitable when fathers wish to pursue parenting time and an allocation of parental responsibilities along with an establishment of paternity;
  • Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) - used when parents do not agree on the child’s paternity. This process is typically less complex than court, but there is no determination regarding parenting time or parental responsibilities in a DHFS case. Fathers would have to pursue enforcement of these rights separately.

Child Support Issues

An order for child support often follows the establishment of paternity (parents who sign a VAP, have an agreement outside of court, or are currently living together are common exceptions). If you are pursuing allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time along with your acknowledgement of paternity, it is highly recommended that you have a legal advocate on your side - especially if you expect there to be an order for child support. Further, it may benefit you greatly to have an attorney representing you if your child has special needs, or if you, yourself, are dealing with a complex or serious financial matter.

Contact Our DuPage County Family Law Attorneys

If you need assistance with a family law matter, including the establishment of paternity, Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices is the firm to trust. Dedicated and experienced, we will protect your rights as a parent and safeguard the best interests of your child. Schedule a free consultation with our DuPage County family law attorneys to learn more about how we can assist with your case. Call 630-932-9100 today.



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