Illinois Paternity FAQs

Establishing paternity is the critical first step in collecting child support. When legal paternity is established, a child has the right to the father's Social Security or veteran's benefits, medical coverage, pensions and inheritance. Also, the medical genetic information of both parents is available for the child if needed for diagnosis and treatment of medical problems.

How Can Paternity be Established?

  • To make it easier for unwed parents to establish paternity at the time of the child's birth, Illinois law makes it possible for both parents to sign a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form in the hospital. Signing this form eliminates the court process and is vital to having the father's name added to the birth certificate.
  • Parents who do not sign the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form at the hospital may sign it later at any local registrar of vital records, county clerk's office, local Department of Human Services office or child support enforcement office. The form can also be completed, witnessed at home and mailed to the Illinois Department of Public Aid, Administrative Coordination Unit, 509 South Sixth Street, Springfield, Illinois 62701.
  • Persons on public assistance must participate in the establishment of paternity. The Department of Public Aid's Division of Child Support Enforcement uses an administrative process when the alleged father and mother consent to establishing paternity or when the alleged father contests being named the father. The alleged father has the right to a hearing by an administrative law judge or a court hearing if he requests.
  • Paternity tests are used when an alleged father is in doubt about being the father or whenever paternity is contested.
  • Paternity can be established by default when an alleged father fails to attend a scheduled interview or to go for a scheduled paternity test and has been properly served with a notice to appear.
  • Paternity can be established by publication of the alleged father's name in the newspaper.
  • Paternity can be established in court using the standard judicial process for persons not receiving services from the Division of Child Support Enforcement or for alleged fathers of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) clients when they request it.

-- Illinois Child Support Enforcement