Paternity - Chicago Illinois Family Law Blog
The Importance of Establishing Paternity
Establishing paternity is important for establishing a legal relationship between a father and a child. In Illinois, if a child is born to a couple that is married, it is presumed that the husband is the legal parent of the child.
If a couple is unmarried at the time of a birth, then the father is considered “the alleged father” and is not considered the legal father until certain steps are taken. His name cannot be added to the birth certificate until paternity is legally established.
In Illinois there are three ways to establish paternity:
- Both parents complete, sign and have witnessed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form;
- The State of Illinois’ Department of Healthcare and Family Services enters an Administrative Paternity Order; or
- A judge enters an Order of Paternity in court.
New Fathers Turning Down Paternity Leave
More and more companies are allowing new fathers time away from work to help care for newborns, but many are turning down the offer because they are afraid of losing status at work or losing face in light of traditional stereotypes that still exist. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, companies are catching on to paternity leave, but dads? Not to the same degree.
In countries such as Portugal and Sweden, paternity leave has been made mandatory. In America, paternity leave remains brief if taken at all. According to a 2011 Boston College Center for Work and Family study of employees at four Fortune 500 companies, 85 percent of new fathers do take some time off after the birth of a child. The majority, however, take no more than a week or so.
Federal Judge Orders Paternity Requirement Improvements
On Thursday, January 27, a federal judge ordered Indiana officials to stop refusing parents who are not married an easy way to identify a child’s legal father if one or both parents don’t have a Social Security number, IndyStar.com reports.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit against the Indiana State Department of Health by families whose immigration status restricts them from obtaining a Social Security number. Specifically, the lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of how paternity affidavits are issued, which are forms that unmarried parents can fill out to establish a child’s legal father. According to an attorney representing the families, the policy harms both legal and illegal residents, since many people who are in the U.S. legally can’t obtain Social Security numbers with certain kinds of visas.
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