Joliet Parentage Attorney
Experienced Parentage Lawyer in Will County, Illinois
At the Davi Law Group, we are tireless advocates for those who seek to establish parentage for minor children. When children know where they come from, they have access to a wealth of information and resources to help them with the challenges of life. Our attorneys have in-depth experience with handling parentage issues and can help you navigate the process efficiently. Attorney Dion U. Davi tried parentage cases for nearly three years when he represented the Illinois Healthcare and Family Services ("HFS") as an Assistant State's Attorney in DuPage County. The Davi Law Group can guide you to additional resources, explain the process and answer any questions you may have about establishing parentage in Illinois.
What is Parentage?
Parentage is the establishment of the parent-child relationship. Maternity refers to the mother of a child and paternity relates to the father. Our attorneys can answer questions and assist in the establishment of the parent-child relationship as well as keep clients informed about their rights and responsibilities when paternity is established, including the impact to child support, child custody, adoption, and visitation issues.
Presumption of Paternity and Custody
The Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 states that when there is no custody award in a parentage judgment, an established support obligation or right to visitation delineates the custodial parent from the non-custodial parent (NCP). Only NCPs are subject to visitation rights. In all other cases, custody is presumed to be with the mother, unless the father had physical possession of the child for at least six months before the mother sought formal custody. If a man is not established as the legal father of the child, he has no legal standing in that child’s life.
In Illinois, a man is considered to be the legal father of a child if:
- He was married to the mother of the child at birth or during conception.
- He married the mother after the child was born and gave consent to be listed as the father on the child’s birth certificate.
- He signed a form verifying his acknowledgement of paternity, i.e. a "Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity" ("VAP").
- An administrative or judicial proceeding establishing paternity, e.g. a judicial determination of parentage.
The Illinois Putative Father Registry is a great resource for men who are seeking to establish paternity. Putative fathers have 30 days to register after a child's birth. Then, they have 30 days within registering to begin paternity proceedings. Those who do not register in the specified time of period may have their parental rights terminated and lose the right to contest the adoption of their children.
Refusal of Paternity
If a person is seeking to refute paternity, he or she may bring an action to declare the non-existence of the father-child relationship. Such an action can be brought by the child, the natural mother, or a man presumed to be the father of the child. When the presumption has been legally refused, another man presumed to be the father may assume paternity in the same legal action, if applicable, or after the fact. When a father's paternity is established, he is referred to as the adjudicated father. This means that he is the man legally recognized as the child's father. An adjudicated father may still be challenged by a verified compliant if it is discovered that he is not the natural father of the child, as defined within the statue of limitations.
Parent-Child Relationship Statute of Limitations in Illinois
In Illinois, the statute of limitations surrounding actions regarding the parent-child relationship is as follows:
- Actions brought by, on behalf of a child, or from HFS are barred if brought later than two years after a child reaches the age of majority (18 years old)
- Actions initiated by a public agency other than HFS are barred two years after the agency has ceased to provide assistance to the child
- Failure to bring an action within two years shall not bar any party from asserting a defense in any action to declare the non-existence of the parent-child relationship
- Actions brought under subsection b of Section 7 of the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 to declare the non-existence of the parent-child relationship may be barred if brought later than two years after the petitioner obtains knowledge of relevant facts; the two-year period may not extend beyond the child's 18th birthday
- Actions brought under subsection b-5 of Section 7 of the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 to declare the non-existence of the parent-child relationship shall be barred if brought more than six months after the the effective date of the amendatory Act of 1998, or more than two years after the petitioner obtains knowledge of relevant facts, whichever is later
Voluntary Paternity Acknowledgement and DNA Testing
When signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, the right to DNA testing is waived. If the father wishes to rescind the acknowledgement, he must do so within 60 days of signing the form. These forms are available at hospitals as well as state vital records and human services facilities. This form cannot be processed before the child is born.
A biological mother, her child, or an assumed father can file a petition to determine paternity. This petition requests DNA testing and upon confirmation of fatherhood, a judicial determination of parentage is established. Once paternity is established, it gives the child access to his father’s estate, as well as child support benefits, and the ability to be covered under his health insurance plans. Our attorneys can also help your family with estate planning to make provisions for your child or children now and in the future.
Contact us today at 815-582-4901 if you want to make an appointment to discuss your parentage concerns. We will give you an honest assessment of your family law matter and explain our approach at no charge, which has an approximate value of $325.00. Should you retain us as your counsel, financing options are available. If you live in Will County, please schedule an appointment at our Joliet office.