The Chicago Family Law Blog

The Boy IS Yours: Establishing Paternity

We understand. Not all parents take responsibility for their children. In fact, some even deny that the child is theirs. What can you do if either the father is not stepping up or the mother denies that you are the father?

There are two legal routes: the easy way and the hard way. The easy way is some paperwork. The hard way means legal battles, paperwork, DNA testing, and probably lawyers. Choose wisely.

The Easy Way

If you and the other parent of your child are on good terms, the solution is simple. The father of the child merely needs to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form. Once that has been entered, and 60 days have passed, the father is legally responsible for the child.

If the father of the baby is not the mother’s husband, the husband will have to fill out a Denial of Paternityform.

These forms are the easiest, quickest way to establish paternity for the sake of visitation and child support.

The Hard Way

This is going to be the dirty, litigious way of establishing paternity. Though you can certainly try to do this yourself, it’s probably best to leave it to an attorney, as it requires a lot of paperwork and legal wrangling.

The steps to establish paternity are as follows:

  • If you are a mother seeking to establish the father, you will need this packet of information and set of forms.
  • If you are a father seeking to establish paternity and enforce your rights, you will need this packet of information and set of forms.
  • Once the paperwork is ready, you’ll need to file it, along with a Summons obtained from the Clerk, at your local county clerk’s office.
  • The summons will be served by the sheriff within 30 days. After 30 days from the time the other parent receives the paperwork, you can schedule the hearing and notify the other party of the date.
  • At the hearing, the judge will hear testimony and, if necessary, order DNA testing to determine paternity.

Like we said, the first method is easier. Additional help can be found for low income individuals at the Illinois Legal Aid Society. You might also want to skim our blog and check out the FindLaw’s resources on paternity.

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