When you have a child, your whole life can change. It’s possible that your daily responsibilities will shift from taking care of only yourself to looking out for your little one too. To ensure you can provide for your child both now and for many years to come, establishing paternity may be essential.
Fathers in Illinois can seek paternity rights in and outside of court. And once you complete the process, establishing paternity allows you to take care of your child’s financial and emotional needs.
There are a few different paths to legally securing your rights as a father. Under state law, marrying or being in a civil union with your partner prior to or 300 days before your child’s birth automatically makes you your child’s legal father.
Maybe don’t have plans to marry your child’s other parent. If you still hope to establish paternity right away, then you can do so immediately after your child’s birth. This is possible when both parents sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form at the hospital. Otherwise, you can seek an administrative paternity order through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services or file for paternity at your local family court.
Benefits of parental responsibilities
Whether you earn the right to make decisions for your child or can have them live or visit with you, establishing paternity can give you a chance to play an instrumental role in your child’s upbringing. With legal parental responsibilities, you can have a say in important aspects of your child’s life, like choosing their school or where they will receive medical care. And when granted parenting time, you will be able to spend time and create a deep bond with your child.
There are also many benefits you’re legally able to extend to your child through paternity. During your life, you might be able to share health insurance and Social Security benefits and provide for your child through child support payments. And after you pass, you might be able to pass along your inheritance as well as life insurance and Veteran’s benefits. Plus, as the legal father of your child, you’ll be able to add your name to your child’s birth certificate.
If you want to take legal steps to pass along your family name and a plethora of benefits, then you can consult a family law attorney to learn more about the process.