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DuPage County paternity attorney DNA testingYou might think being able to use science to determine paternity with absolute certainty through DNA testing would make family law cases much easier, especially when it comes to defining child custodychild support, and parenting time. However, the truth is that it can actually complicate things even more than intended. Here is how introducing DNA testing into the legal process has changed paternity, fatherhood, and father's rights:

Why Paternity Is So Complex, Especially Now With DNA Testing

Paternity has always been a complex issue, but before DNA testing, according to the law, it was relatively simple: if you were married, and your wife had a baby, you were considered the father. However, as many people know—and even knew then—it is rarely that simple in actuality. Now that medical technology has caught up with the dilemmas surrounding paternity, DNA testing has provided the courts with an exact, indisputable science to determine the identity of a child’s father.

You might think this has made things easier, but it has actually caused great cognitive dissonance for many fathers. A father may spend years thinking a child was his and raising that child as his own, only to discover during the divorce process that he is not the child’s biological father. He would not want to disrespect and lose that beautiful relationship with his son or daughter just because he did not want to be responsible for child support payments. At the same time, he may feel a sense of resentment when paying support for a child that was not even his. What is a father to do?

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DuPage County Paternity AttorneyUnless the state has revoked your parental rights, every father has the right to establish paternity with their biological child. Numerous studies have shown establishing paternity is in a child’s best interests, as those who have a relationship with both of their parents excel in more areas. In addition to these psychological benefits, establishing paternity also has numerous financial and medical benefits for the child.

The process of establishing paternity is relatively straightforward if both parents agree. In some cases, however, establishing paternity is made much more difficult. This includes situations in which more than one man believes they are the father, or the mother wishes to raise the child on her own. Still, a father can successfully establish paternity even if the biological mother contests it.

Sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

The easiest way for a father to establish paternity is to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) at the time of the child’s birth. These forms are available at the hospital. If the parent seeking paternity was married to the mother at conception or any point during the pregnancy, paternity is automatically established and the husband at the time is considered the presumed father. Presumed fathers do not need to sign a VAP because paternity is already determined.

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Posted on in Paternity

Wheaton paternity lawyerBecoming a parent is one of the many significant milestones in life. It is a chance for you to pass on your knowledge and your legacy to the next generation. As we quickly discover, that legacy is well-earned through the many responsibilities we undertake as parents. We must make an enormous amount of decisions and sacrifices for our children, including providing for their medical care and education, as well as the financial costs required to provide them with an acceptable standard of living.

Unfortunately, information sometimes emerges that paternity is no longer certain, and a parent may be providing for a child who belongs to someone else. This emotionally charged situation happens more than you might guess. For this reason, there is a set legal procedure for disestablishing paternity, which effectively severs the obligation to pay child support or other financial requirements in the future.

If You Are Not the Presumed Father or Have Not Signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP)

If you are married to a child’s mother at the conception or birth of the child, Illinois acknowledges you as the presumed father, making you the legal father of the child in question. If you were not married to the mother at that time and have not signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form, it is possible to disestablish paternity by completing a Petition to Establish the Non-Existence of a Parent-Child Relationship.

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Posted on in Paternity

paternity, DuPage County family law attorneyPaternity is defined as the legal relationship between a father and his children, and the rights and responsibilities that come along with that relationship. Fathers who are or were married to the mother of their child do not typically need to establish paternity, since the legal presumption is that a mother's husband or ex-husband (within a biologically appropriate time-frame) is the father.

Unmarried fathers, however, must proactively establish their paternity - or the mother may seek to do so. Unless both parents agree on who is the child's father and are willing to submit a signed acknowledgment, it is likely you will need to establish paternity in court. If you are a parent seeking to have the paternity of your child established for legal reasons, an experienced paternity lawyer in Illinois can help. Our firm's paternity attorneys have experience representing both mothers and fathers in paternity cases.

Rights and Responsibilities of Legal Fatherhood

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