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

  • 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

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.

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.


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

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

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
 "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.  

.  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.
Attorney Angela Lund-Logan, Attorneys & Lawyers, Loves Park, IL