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Establishing Parentage

“Parentage,” also known as paternity, is the legal relationship between a parent and child and carries with it all rights to and responsibilities for the child, including decision-making (custody), parenting time (visitation), and child support. The mother-child relationship (maternity) is established at birth. The law presumes that whoever is married to the birth mother at the time of the child’s birth is the legal parent of the child. However, if the parents are not married at the time the child is born, it may require extra steps for the other person to establish the parent-child relationship or parentage of the child.

How Can You Establish Parentage?

There are several ways that parentage or paternity can be established. In many cases, the other parent executes a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or Voluntary Acknowledgment of Parentage (commonly known as a “VAP”) either at the time of birth or soon thereafter. However, if parentage or paternity is disputed, then either party may have to file a parentage action to have the court determine if a parent-child relationship exists between the child and the other person. Generally, parentage is legally determined via court-ordered genetic (DNA) testing or by written agreement of the parties.

Once parentage is established, then both parties’ rights to allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities (custody) and parenting time (visitation) as well as child support are determined either by agreement or by the judge.

Contact Our Experienced Family Law Attorneys

If you are considering a parentage action and want to learn more about the process or our services, the attorneys at Beattie Freeman Onorato Family Law Group are available to assist you and protect your rights. Call our Chicago office at 312-809-2750 or contact us online to learn more.