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Filing for Paternity

Updated on
March 10, 2021
Article written by
Attorney Matthew K. Dorich

In this article we will be discussing What County Should I File My Paternity Case In and answer the questions of:

  • What Happens When My Child’s Other Parent and I Live in Different Counties?
  • Which County Is Appropriate for the Case to Be Filed In?
  • What Happens if the Other Party Challenges the Venue Choice in a Paternity Case?
  • Does It Matter Which Parent the Child Resides With?
  • What Happens If There Was a Judgment Previously Entered Related to Parentage?
  • What If Neither Parent Still Lives in the Same County That Entered the Judgment?
  • Does It Matter Which County a Paternity Case Proceeds In?
  • Can I Change Counties Once a Paternity Case Begins?

In a parentage situation, it is possible that the parents of a child do not live in the same county. In a situation where the parties live in separate counties, the Court will need to determine which county is the correct location to administer the case.

What Happens When My Child’s Other Parent and I Live in Different Counties?

When parents of a minor child, who have never been married, live in different counties it creates a situation where two counties have a jurisdictional claim to preside over any disputes between the parties.

Which County Is Appropriate for the Case to Be Filed In?

It is appropriate to file the case in any county which the Court can establish proper jurisdiction. In short, the case can be filed in any county which one of the parties has resided for at least 90 days prior to starting the case. If you would like more information related to establishing jurisdiction, please check out our article on that topic: Illinois Divorce Jurisdiction Explained | How to Determine Divorce Jurisdiction and Venue (oflaherty-law.com)

What Happens if the Other Party Challenges the Venue Choice?

In a situation where you have started a case in one county but the other party objects to that county presiding over the case, the objecting party needs to file a motion to change venue. The Court will then conduct a hearing to determine which county has the most interest in presiding over the case.

Does It Matter Which Parent the Child Resides With?

Not necessarily. The Court will be using several factors to determine which county is most appropriate to preside over the case. The county which the child resides in is a factor in that analysis, but it is not absolute in determining the appropriate venue.

What Happens If There Was a Judgment Previously Entered Related to Parentage?

The County that entered the parentage judgment between the parties is usually the most appropriate county to continue the case in. The parties have previously submitted to that Court’s jurisdiction and the Court has the power to hear any additional issues between the parties.

What If Neither Parent Still Lives in the Same County That Entered the Judgment?

If the parties have a judgement that was entered in a separate county (or state) they can take that judgment to any county which can now establish proper jurisdiction over the parties.

Does It Matter Which County the Case Proceeds In?

Not particularly. Each county in Illinois is required to apply the same law and standards to all cases within the state. The major difference is the local court rules related to the case procedures.  

Can I Change Counties Once the Case Begins?

No, once the parties submit to jurisdiction or the Court determines that it has the appropriate authority to preside over the case you cannot change the jurisdiction.


Filing for Paternity
Author

Attorney Matthew K. Dorich

Matt's practice is focused on family law, real estate transactions, civil litigation, estate planning, and business law issues.

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