The birth of a child imposes duties and responsibilities on the parents. Where one or the other parent shirks those duties and responsibilities, the law will step in.
The identity of the mother is almost always known from birth. The identity of the father is sometimes not known. Paternity is the process for establishing who the father is.
In the typical paternity case, the mother is seeking financial help from a man she maintains is the child's father. The man denies it. If any of the following conditions are present, an Illinois court will presume that the man is the father:
1. he was married to the child's mother when the child was born or conceived;
2. he was the child's mother after the child was born, and he consented to being named as the child's father on the birth certificate;
3. he signed an acknowledgment of paternity; or
4. he signed a petition to establishment a parent-child relationship by consent.
If those conditions are not present, the court will order that the man undergo tests to determine paternity. Because the tests determine paternity with a high degree of probability, the court's determination of whether the man is the father usually rests with the test results.