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Establishing paternity, legal rights and responsibilities

Photo of Karen Lavin


A baby is a treasure, but he or she also is a life-altering adjustment. Nurturing that newly formed life from infancy to adulthood can be a tall task for even the most determined mother or father. That journey -- although enormously rewarding -- is also enormously time-consuming and money-intensive. To avoid meeting these commitments alone, Illinoisans may benefit from looking into establishing paternity.

When the parentage of a child is in doubt, establishing paternity of the child and the legal recognition that radiates from it can be a boon to the mother, father and child alike. Recognition can give the mother closure, the father a chance at a relationship and the child the support of two parents.

To establish paternity, the mother or putative father can file a paternity suit seeking to determine a child's parentage. If granted, a simple DNA test can reliably establish the identity of the child's father. Once established, the birth mother (or father) can take the results to the authorities to enforce important legal rights and obligations. These rights and obligations may include a potential for adoption, child support, child custody and visitation and even termination of parental rights.

Illinoisans wondering about how to handle a paternity suit may benefit from visiting my website to learn more about the process and how I can use my 30-plus years of family law experience to help guide them through it. This includes starting a suit, guiding you through the process if you are on the receiving end of a suit and much more. The click of a mouse or the pressing of a few numbers could be the snowball that triggers an avalanche of help.

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