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Establishing paternity

10651364_S.jpgThere are multiple reasons fathers in Illinois should establish paternity. Among them are the legal benefits the child can obtain: The child will be entitled to various forms of financial benefits from the father, including regular child support, Social Security benefits, veteran's benefits and inheritances. Establishing paternity also allows the child to have access to their father's medical history, which is useful for learning about any inherited medical conditions that could possibly affect the child.

The birth father has two options when he wants to establish paternity voluntarily. One method is signing a Declaration of Paternity at the birth of the child. In order for the father to have his name on the child's birth certificate, the completion of the document is required.

For fathers who are not present at the birth of their child, they have the option of completing an affidavit of paternity at any time from the birth of the child until the child's 18th birthday. If the birth certificate has been issued before the completion of the affidavit, the birth certificate can be modified with the addition of the father's name at a later time.

In situations in which the father does not want to acknowledge paternity voluntarily, the mother should contact her local Office of Child Support Enforcement to initiate the process for having the paternity formally established. The process involves the mother meeting with OCSF representatives to learn about how paternity will be established and signing an affidavit that names the alleged father. After these steps, multiple resources will be used to locate the father.

A family law attorney may advise fathers about what steps to take to establish paternity and to be a part of their children's lives. Litigation may be used to protect a father's rights regarding child custody, visitation time and parenting time.

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