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Paternity Attorney in Edwardsville, Illinois

Illinois takes paternity issues very seriously in order to ensure children’s rights are protected. However, some scholars argue that the rise in DNA testing can increase the incidence of disputed paternity. As a result, states such as Illinois have taken proactive steps to establish paternity appropriately.

At the Hawkins Law Office, we work hard to provide legal support for families from all walks of life. Whether you’re a father looking to establish paternity or a mother seeking to implement child support through paternity, our attorney can help. No matter what, we strive to protect the needs and best interests of children, so they get everything they need to have a successful upbringing.  We proudly serve the Edwardsville, Illinois community and the surrounding areas of Belleville, Carlinville, Jerseyville, Vandalia, Hillsboro, and Greenville. Reach out today to speak with a trusted family law attorney

At this firm, we put families first. 

The Importance of Paternity in Illinois 

Establishing paternity, or the legal identification of a child’s biological father is important for protecting the legal rights and well-being of the child, the father, and the custodial parent. For children, establishing paternity can have significant benefits regarding their well-being. It can provide them with important legal and financial protections and it can help build a positive and meaningful relationship with their father. 

Establishing paternity can also have significant benefits for a mother, including financial support, legal protections, emotional support, and access to important health and inheritance information that pertains to their child. The following expands upon the importance of establishing paternity: 

Child Support 

When paternity is established, a court can order the father to pay child support, which provides financial assistance to the child and the custodial parent. As a result, obtaining child support from the father becomes a legal right for the child and the custodial parent. 

Health Information 

Knowing a child’s genetic history can be important for identifying potential health issues or risks that the child may face. This information can help healthcare providers make more informed decisions about the child’s healthcare. 

Father-Child Relationship 

Establishing paternity can help to create a legal relationship between a father and his child. This relationship can provide the child emotional support and a sense of identity. It can also give the father legal rights such as child custody and visitation. Additionally, parents can determine an effective parenting plan to suit specific circumstances. 

Government Benefits 

Children legally recognized as their fathers' biological children may be eligible for certain government benefits, such as Social Security survivor benefits or veterans’ benefits. 

Establishing Paternity in Illinois 

In Illinois, there are several ways to establish paternity: 

Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity 

This process involves a legal document that both parents sign to establish paternity. It can be signed at the hospital when the child is born or at any time after the child’s birth. Once the document is signed and filed with the Illinois Department of Public Health, the biological father’s name will be added to the child’s birth certificate. He will have legal rights and responsibilities as the child’s father. 

Court Order 

If the mother or father disputes paternity, a court order can be obtained to establish paternity. This process may involve DNA testing to determine whether the alleged father is the child's biological father. If paternity is established through a court order, the father will have legal rights and responsibilities as the child’s father. 

Administrative Paternity Order 

If the mother receives public assistance, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services may file a paternity action against the alleged father to establish paternity. This situation may involve DNA testing to determine whether the alleged father is the child's biological father. If paternity is established through an administrative order, the father will have legal rights and responsibilities as the child’s father. 

Solving Paternity Disputes in Illinois 

Disputes may arise regarding paternity. In such a situation, a petition may be needed to establish parentage. 

In Illinois, various parties may file a petition to establish parentage. These parties include: 

  • The mother of the child 

  • The presumed father of the child 

  • A man who believes he is the biological father of the child 

  • The child, if they are over the age of 18 

  • A representative of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services 

It’s important to note that if the mother is married in Illinois, her husband is presumed to be the child's legal father. In this case, the presumed father or the biological father may need to file a petition to rebut the presumption of paternity. 

DNA testing is commonly used to establish paternity in cases where there is a dispute or uncertainty about the biological father of a child. If the mother, presumed father, or alleged biological father agrees to DNA testing, they can voluntarily participate in genetic testing. The DNA test results can be used as evidence in a paternity proceeding. 

If a party refuses to submit to DNA testing, the court can order the individual to take the test. 

It’s important to note that DNA testing is highly accurate in determining biological relationships and can provide strong evidence for establishing paternity. If paternity is established through DNA testing, the biological father may be required to provide financial support for the child. He may also be entitled to certain parenting rights and responsibilities. 

To learn more and take the first step in establishing paternity, contact our office in Edwardsville, Illinois, today.  

Paternity Attorney in Edwardsville, Illinois 

Ultimately, establishing paternity is crucial to ensure children’s well-being, protect mothers’ rights, and allow fathers to play a key role in their children’s lives. At the Hawkins Law Office, we put families first. We believe in the power of protecting children’s and parents’ rights by establishing paternity. Call today to speak with a professional and experienced family law attorney who can provide you with personalized legal advice.