Paternity / Parentage
Paternity / Parentage Lawyers Serving Kane, Kendall & DeKalb Counties
Familiar relationships have many different terms, and we often tend to use them without really giving our words a second thought. Sometimes, however, it is important to take a look at the relationship in question in order to determine the legality of the exact relationship in question. When it comes to a parent and a child, that relationship is known as “parentage”. More specifically, parentage is what the legal relationship between child and parent is known as. It has a specific legal definition and purpose, in other words.
Many individuals believe that parentage refers only to a father and their child, however there are actually a few different relationships that are included within the term. Maternity, for example, refers to the relationship between a mother and a child. Paternity refers to the relationship between a father and a child. You might be wondering why this is a topic of discussion, and the answer is simple. Because we so often take these relationships for granted, we tend to be caught off guard when faced with the reality that sometimes the outcome is not certain.
When you are faced with a question of parentage, you should reach out to an experienced family law attorney who understands the various ins and outs of the law. At Van Der Snick Law Firm, LTD we can help you in your parentage claim. Whatever the outcome, we will work to ensure your rights are protected and well represented.
The Legalities of Parentage
There are a few different situations that can have an effect upon the parentage of a child. In some situations, for example, paternity is assumed. When the person in question was married to the mother when the child was born or when the mother became pregnant, then they are – with few exceptions – the child’s legal parent. In other situations, however, it might be necessary to determine the biological father in order to correctly establish paternity and parentage.
When paternity is not assumed at the birth of a child, it must be established separately. In general, there are three ways to do this in Illinois. First of all, if the parents both agree who is the father and who is the mother, then something known as voluntary acknowledgement of parentage (VAP) is established. When individuals disagree, the process becomes a bit more complicated. Sometimes the court will have to be involved and call a paternity hearing to officially establish the parentage – in almost all cases, specifically the paternity – of the child. Other times, the individuals might opt for a hearing at the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). These meetings are easier than undergoing a court hearing, however the process can be much longer. Additionally, a DHFS hearing does not handle things like parental responsibilities or parenting time – it only establishes (or disproves) paternity.
To recap, the following are the three main ways that paternity/parentage are established:
- VAP (Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage)
- Court Hearing
- DHFS (Department of Healthcare and Family Services) Hearing
Why is parentage important?
There are a few reasons why parentage is so important. First of all, it should be noted that parentage is used to determine the legal responsibilities an individual has to their child. This includes things like child support or even child custody. If you are not the biological parent of a child, in other words, you might not be responsible for actually paying for a child every month. This is probably one of the main reasons that parentage is established. When someone is accused of being the father of a child and is ordered to pay child support as part of that assumption, it is natural to want to be absolutely sure that that assumption is a correct one.
Additionally, parentage can be used to determine what rights you have to your child. If you are not officially recognized as the child’s parent, in other words, you might find yourself fighting just to spend a little time with them in the event of the end of the relationship with their other parent. To avoid this, it is a good idea to establish paternity as soon as you can.
Are you involved in a paternity dispute? If so, you should reach out to an experienced lawyer in Illinois as quickly as possible in order to ensure that your case is handled fairly and thoroughly. It is always a good idea to have a knowledgeable lawyer on your side, especially given just how emotional this kind of situation can be. When you find yourself struggling to prove or disprove paternity, the attorneys at Van Der Snick Law Firm, LTD can help!
For Help – Contact An Experienced Paternity / Parentage Attorney
For more information about parentage and paternity issues in Illinois, contact Van Der Snick Law Firm, LTD today! We can help you set up a consultation and discuss your case with you.