PARENTAGE ACT.Paternity is governed by the Illinois Parentage regardless of the marital status of the parents.
Presumption of Paternity. A man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if:
he and the natural mother of the child are or have been married to each other and the child is born or conceived during such marriage
after the child's birth, he and the natural mother marry and he is named as the father, with his written consent, on the child's birth certificate
he and the natural mother signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP)
if the natural father is someone other than the presumed father under the Illinois Parentage Act, an acknowledgment of paternity is signed, and, if the natural father is someone other than one presumed to be the father, then a acknowledgment denial of paternitydenial of paternity is signed by the presumed father is signed by the presumed father
Voluntary Acknowledge of Paternity (VAP). Often abbreviated to VAP, this form is used to allow a man to be placed on the birth certificate of a child when the man is not married to the natural mother, by the Department of Health and Family Services (formally Public Aid) to address paternity without the formality of the courtroom., and by either parent to establish paternity prior to proceeding with a court case.
ILLINOIS MARRIAGE AND DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE ACT. Section 16 of the Parentage Act makes all provisions of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) applicable to a paternity case once paternity has been established. Thus the statutory provisions determining custody, visitation, and financial obligations are the same whether the parents of the child were married or not married when the child was conceived and born.
REASONS TO ESTABLISH PATERNITY
Without an order from the court setting a specific visitation schedule:
A Father may not be allowed to have any visitation with the child
A Mother may not be able to retrieve the child from the father
VISITATION COURT ORDER. Until paternity has been established, there is no set visitation schedule which can result in considerable difficulty for both parents. In many situations, the father will be given no legal rights to visitation until a court order is entered setting forth a specific visitation schedule. In other situations, if the father fails to return the child after visitation, the mother may have no ability to have the child returned without a court order. Therefore, it is imperative to establish paternity as soon as the child is born rather than waiting until a problem develops.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT. The parent given visitation will not be responsible for financially supporting the child until paternity is established. Unless the Department of Health and Family Services (formerly Public Aid) is involved, a parent can only receive financial support dating back to the date the court case was filed. The longer the parent waits to file the court case, the longer the parent will be solely responsible for supporting the child financially. The financial support available is exactly the same as if the parents were married and is defined by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
PROCEDURE TO ESTABLISH PATERNITY Paternity is established through the following means:
Proof the mother giving birth to the child
Proof of Adoption or records established pursuant to Section 16 of the Vital Records Act
Administrative Determination by the Department of Health Care and Family Services (formerly Public Aid) in accordance with Section 10/17.7 of the Illinois Public Aid Code
Court procedure pursuant to the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984
ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES (formerly Public Aid). A parent can use the assistance of "Public Aid" to establish paternity and the financial obligations of the non-custodial parent (parent with visitation). The "Public Aid" attorney does not represent either the mother or the father, but rather represents the department in assuring that the child support payments are made and that health insurance is provided for the child. Therefore, these attorneys do not handle custody or visitation issues which often times results in visitation issue never being resolved or even addressed. "Public Aid" places the responsibility of getting a visitation schedule entered on the parents. That is why many attorneys work in conjunction with the "Public Aid" attorneys to obtain the best results for their clients.
Powers of the Department of Health and Family Services (Public Aid). "Public Aid" has been given the ability to appear before judges in every county in Illinois and assess child support against "responsible relatives" in accordance with section 505 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. The support can be dated to the date the child was born. Public Aid enforces Section 505.2 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage requiring a person paying child support to provide health insurance for the child as an additional requirement of child support. Public Aid can assess the cost of the birth of the child against the person paying child support if the public assistance paid for the cost of the birth. Public Aid can even assess maintenance (formerly called alimony) against a "responsible relative" in accordance with section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
COURT PROCEDURE PURSUANT TO THE ILLINOIS PARENTAGE ACT OF 1984. The first step in initiating a paternity action is to file the complaint to declare the existing of a parent and child relationship. The complaint must be filed in the proper state and county. The father must be given notice pursuant to the requirements of section 9.1 of the act. A person named in a paternity action as the father of a child has the right to genetic testing to determine inherited characteristics in accordance with section 11 of the Parentage Act. Once paternity has been established under the Act, the Court can entertain issues of visitation/custody, child support, and other financial issues under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.
After a Final Order is entered in the Paternity Case. Enforcement and modification of court orders entered in a paternity case is the same as if the orders were entered in a divorce. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act governs modification and enforcement of all court orders.
Intervention of the Department of Health and Family Services (formerly Public Aid). If the custodial parent is receiving benefits from Public Aid, the Department can intervene into the paternity case (as well as a divorce case) to enforce the payment of child support by the non-custodial parent (parent receiving visitation). Public Aid attorneys represent the Department in assuring the payment of child support. Although these services are "free" the Department can take some time to initiate the proceedings. Once Public Aid is involved in a case, Public Aid must always be given notice of changes to child support and custody. Public Aid will also conduct a payment history of the child support payments.