2 N. Riverside Plaza,
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312-897-2010

Crystal Lake

333 Commerce Dr.
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Phone: 815-455-3000


1990 Algonquin Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 847-637-5140


2 N. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 1830
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: 312.897.2010

Crystal Lake

333 Commerce Dr.
Ste. 900
Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Phone: 815.455.3000


1990 Algonquin Rd.
Ste. 240
Schaumburg, IL 60173
Phone: 847.637.5140


7047 East Greenway Parkway
Suite 250
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Phone: 847-637-5140

Additional offices in Warrenville, Naperville, Saint Charles, and Lake Forest

Illinois laws establish paternity as the legal relationship between the father and child. Illinois also has regulations about paternity in child support, child visitation, and child custody that are important to understand to establish who the father is. If you have questions about paternity in Illinois, find out more in this article. Then, contact our Crystal Lake parental rights attorneys at Bruning & Associates for help.

How To Establish Paternity In Illinois

The laws of the state offer several ways for you to establish paternity. The relationship you have with the other parent determines which method is best to establish paternity. If you are married to each other or agree on who the biological father is, the process is easier. Illinois state law provides these four ways to establish paternity:

Presumed Paternity Through Marriage

If the father is married or in a civil union, it is assumed he is the child’s father. This is a valid assumption if the mother and father agree.  

This assumption’s scope includes the time after and before the civil union or marriage. For instance, if the child is born three hundred days after a separation or divorce, the state assumes the ex is the father. Also, if the mother and father are married after the child’s birth, the new partner will be assumed to be the father. If that is the case, he must be on the child’s birth certificate or offer written consent.

Voluntary Acknowledgement Of Paternity

Another important Illinois paternity law to know is the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). This is a legal document that proves paternity for unmarried parents. When the VAP is filled out and filed with the state, it adds the father’s name to the child’s birth certificate. The VAP can be filled out and filed at any time after the child’s birth.

You can get a VAP from the hospital, child support office, any Department of Human Services office, a County Clerk’s office, or a state or local registrar’s office. Those who can sign the VAP include:

  • Unmarried parents
  • Parents who are in a civil union
  • Minors who do not have the consent of a parent or guardian
  • Non-US citizens if the minor was born in the United States

Additional Important Points About VAP

When signing the VAP, remember that this proves your paternity. You must pay child support if you separate from your partner and keep the child. You are only required to pay child support based on your income and how many overnights you have with the child.

You make the VAP official by answering everything on the form thoroughly. Then, it needs to be signed, dated, and witnessed. Then, the document must be submitted to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

If you fill out a VAP to establish paternity but change your mind, you can cancel it. You must complete a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. This document must be signed, witnessed, and filed with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services within two months of the VAP’s effective date.

Note: If you are unsure who the child’s biological father is, you should not sign the VAP. It is better to establish paternity with a genetic test. VAP is the easiest way to establish paternity, so it is preferred if both parents agree.

Administrative Paternity Order

Child Support Services in Illinois can issue an Administrative Paternity Order that determines who the child’s father is. In addition, child Support Services will ensure that the biological parents are financially supporting their children. To make this happen, they must biologically establish who the father is since biological parents are legally required to provide for their children financially. However, how much child support the parent who does not live with the child must pay will vary because it depends on what their income is and how many nights they spend with the child. 

Judicial Paternity Order

When paternity is disputed, you can file the case for paternity with the paternity court to show who the father is. This process starts with one of the parties submitting a petition. Then, the paternity court will schedule a paternity hearing. Paternity cases can be complicated, and officials will make a decision according to evidence, statutes, and case law. You will need the help of a Crystal Lake parental rights attorney to help prove your paternity.

In Illinois, a paternity test is often used to establish paternity when there is any question about the child’s father. The test compares the DNA from the father, child, and mother obtained from a cheek swab. The paternity test will legally establish paternity if it shows a result of 99.9% certainty that the suspected father is the biological father.  

Why Should You Establish Paternity?

There are many benefits for establishing paternity for the mother, father, and child:

  • Ensure that the father has the right to visitation and custody of the child.
  • Start a relationship with the child during a co-parenting arrangement.
  • Provide the child the ability to see important family medical data.
  • Secure monetary support for the child and insurance eligibility from both parents.
  • Offer the child the ability to inherit from the mother and father.
  • Allow the child to be eligible for various after-death benefits from both parents, such as pensions, Social Security, and VA/military benefits.

Statute Of Limitations For Paternity Cases In Illinois

If there are two legally proven parents, a third party cannot attempt to sue for paternity after two years since the paternity was established. If someone desires to challenge paternity, there are two years from the date they knew or should have known to contest paternity in court.

Also, in Illinois, the latest that a father is able to establish paternity is when the child turns 20. So, it is impossible to establish paternity after that date. It is best to establish paternity sooner than later so you can begin a relationship with the child.  

Contact a Crystal Lake Parental Rights Attorney Today

Are you in a paternity dispute with your ex-partner? The Crystal Lake parental rights attorneys at Bruning & Associates can assist if you need to assert your parental rights. Our parental rights attorneys also serve the communities of Schaumburg, Scottsdale, AZ, Warrenville, Naperville, Lake Forest, and Saint Charles offices. Please contact our Crystal Lake parental rights attorney at (815) 415-3000 for assistance.