In this article, we shall summarize the laws pertaining to establishing paternity in the state of Illinois. Every state has its own set of family laws, which are generally identical but in some cases have glaring differences. According to Illinois state law, paternity can be established through any of the 3 methods listed below.
- Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage (VAP): This is the most commonly used method, and the simplest, where parentage is established by mutual consent between both parents.
- Litigation: In cases where parents are unable to reach an agreement regarding parentage, one of them may approach the court.
- DHFS Hearings: An alternative to litigation, Department of Healthcare and Family Services conducts hearings to decide issues pertaining to parentage and child support. The scope of the DHFS hearings is limited to the aforementioned two aspects and does not cover parenting time and responsibilities in case of estrangement.
Is it possible to withdraw from VAP?
It’s one of the most common questions asked by parents, particularly fathers. Unfortunately, according to child support lawyers and family lawyers, you cannot withdraw from your voluntary acknowledgment of parenthood after 75 days have lapsed. Although if it’s been less than 75 days, you can reverse it. This means that if you expressed your voluntary acknowledgment of parenthood, you are legally the father/mother. Even if subsequent medical tests such as DNA prove that the child is not biologically yours, the law would continue to consider you as the legal parent and thereby responsible for child support.
Can you go to court to contest paternity?
Yes, you can. But a good child custody lawyer would advise you not to opt for litigation if you have already signed the birth certificate of the child in question and it has been 75 days since the day you signed it, you are the legal parent for life. You may have signed it without realizing that your partner cheated on you and you were not the biological father but once you sign it, you are the legal father. Unless you are able to prove that the signature was forged or the mother agrees to let you off the hook, there’s nothing much you can do about it.
For more information or to schedule a free consultation, contact CASEMENT LAW GROUP, P.C. today at (847) 888-9300 to speak with a veteran divorce, family or child custody lawyer on this issue.