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
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
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
What Kind of information does the Registration
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
How does the Putative Father Registry
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
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
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.
The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
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
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
- 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
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.
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