Home Register Search User Guide Contact FAQ

FAQ's

What is a “Putative Father”?
A “putative father” is a man who may be a child’s father, but who was not married to the child’s mother before the child is born and has not established the fact that he is the father in a legal proceeding. If the child’s mother wants to place the child for adoption, the putative father must take steps to show that he is the legal father of the child if he wants to have any say in the adoption. By registering with the Illinois Putative Father Registry, a father takes one step toward proving he is the child’s father.

Who should register with the Putative Father Registry?
A man who thinks he is the father of a child, and who wants to have a say in whether the child is adopted, should register with the Putative Father Registry. In fact, he should register even if he signed the child’s birth certificate (and even if he is under 18 years old).

How do I register with the Putative Father Registry?
To register with the Illinois Putative Father Registry, you simply fill out a written Registration Form, sign it and return it to the Registry (in person or by mail). You may also fill out the form online, print, and send by mail to the Registry. There is no cost for registering. To obtain a form or complete online contact:

The Illinois Putative Father Registry
3 N. Old State Capitol Plaza
Springfield, Illinois 62701
info@putativefather.org

What Kind of information does the Registration Form request?
The Registration Form asks for your name, address, Social Security Number, birth date, and other information about you, and as much information as you can provide about your child and the child’s mother. Once you register, it is your responsibility to keep your address current with the registry

What happens to the information I give to the Registry?
The information that you provide to the Registry on the registry form will be kept confidential, except that it will be given to an interested party who sends an application for a search of the Registry. An interested party includes the child’s mother, the people who want to adopt the child, a child welfare agency, or an attorney representing one of these parties.

How does the Putative Father Registry work?
After a father registers with the Putative Father Registry, the court will make sure he is notified if the child should be the subject of a pending adoption. When the father receives the “notice of pending adoption,” he can then appear before the court in the adoption to provide information about the child’s best interests.

To protect my rights, when do I have to register?
You may register with the Putative Father Registry before or after the birth of the child. But in order to receive notice of pending adoption, you must first register no later then 30 days after the birth of the child.
But registering with Putative Father Registry is only one step in protecting a father’s rights. Fathers who register with the Putative Father Registry must also begin legal proceedings to establish paternity within 30 days of registering.

How can I establish paternity?
You may have already established paternity if you signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity at the hospital when the baby was born. If you did not establish paternity at the hospital, then you must do one of the following: a) sign the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity now b) go to court to establish paternity with the Clerk of Circuit Court c) see a Healthcare and Family Services representative. You may wish to contact an attorney to assist you. In some instances, you may be able to obtain free assistance in filing a case from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Contact:
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Cook County
Office Division of Child Support Enforcement
32 West Randolph Street, 9th Floor Chicago, Illinois 60601

Or call the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Child Support inquiry Line at 1-800-447-4278.
And remember, you must have started legal proceedings to establish paternity within 30 days of registering with the Putative Father Registry.

What happens if I don’t register with the Putative Father Registry? What happens if I don’t establish paternity?
If you do not register with the Putative Father Registry within 30 days of child’s birth, or if you do register but do not start legal proceedings to establish paternity within 30 days after that, the following may happen:

  • The court may rule that you have waived your rights, and permanently terminate your parental rights without notice; and
  • Your child may be permanently adopted without your consent.

Who else benefits from the Putative Father Registry?
The Putative Father Registry also serves families who want to adopt, adoption social workers and other professionals who must make sure that a child is “legally free” for adoption. Ultimately, the Registry benefits children because it helps to determine if they are available to be adopted.

Back to Top