When preparing for the arrival of a new child, parents know that no matter how much their lives are about to change, they do not have to go through these experiences on their own. Both parents will be focused on providing a nurturing environment for the child, working together to ensure that the child has everything he or she needs.
When a couple is married, the husband is presumed to be the father, and paternity may also be presumed if the couple gets married shortly after the child is born, in certain circumstances. However, in some cases, there may be questions concerning the paternity of the child.
Not every couple that has a child decides to get married, either before or after the child arrives. Mothers may bring paternity actions to determine if a certain man is the father of the child, and the state of Illinois may also commence an action if any of its agencies are providing support for the child.
To establish paternity, the suspected father will be asked to undergo a DNA test. The DNA of the father will be compared to that of the child, and analyzed to determine if the individual is the child's father. If the results do not match, the presumed father may not have any further obligations to the child. If there is a DNA match, the parents will move on to the next step in the process.
Once paternity has been established, there may be past-due support obligations to consider. Additionally, the father may wish to be part of the child's life, and seek visitation time. The parties do have options at this time, and may work together to solve these issues before going into the courtroom. It is important that each parent understands the rights and obligations that come with a determination of paternity, as well as the consequences of the decisions that they make.
Paternity questions must be resolved within two years of the child reaching the age of 18. It may be extremely difficult for either parent to bring or contest an action after the two-year statute of limitations has expired.
If you have questions about a paternity issue, speak to an experienced family law attorney to learn more about the process in your area. These situations often involve a range of emotions, and it is important to work with someone who can explain the choices to you. Whether you are seeking to establish paternity or wish to contest the matter, an attorney can help you protect your rights.