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Under the Illinois Parentage Act, when unmarried parents have children together, the alleged father must voluntarily state that they are the biological father, or get a DNA test administered by the courts. Establishing paternity may sound like an easy process, but it is not. There are many complexities involved, and believing any of the multiple myths surrounding paternity cases only makes the process more difficult. If you have had a child with someone you are not married to, it is crucial that you understand what the most common myths are, and the truth behind them. This is the only way to protect the rights of you and your child.
The Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, more commonly known as the ‘VAP,’ is a form that is available at the hospital after the child’s birth. When the presumed father is present at the birth, he should be given the chance to sign this document, which is legally binding and very difficult to challenge.
The time after birth is often chaotic, albeit joyful, with lots of visits from relatives and running errands to ensure the mother and child have everything they need to leave the hospital. Due to this, some people do not fill out the VAP, mistakenly thinking that they can sign it at a later date.
The VAP is the easiest way to establish paternity and if it is not filled out at the hospital, you cannot complete it at a later date. However, if there is any question about paternity, the VAP should not be completed and other measures should be taken to establish paternity.
Many people believe that when a father’s name is included on the birth certificate, that is enough to establish paternity. It is not. Even when the father has filled out a VAP, the document must still be submitted to the court. A judge will review the document and if it is approved, they will then issue a final court order that establishes paternity. If a VAP has not been filled out, the court will order a DNA test to determine paternity.
Establishing paternity is sometimes a lengthy process but unfortunately, once the biological father has been determined, the case does not end there. Other issues, including parenting time and child support, must be decided on to ensure the rights of the entire family are protected.
Again, while establishing paternity may sound like a fairly straightforward matter, it can quickly become complicated. Add to this the fact that no matter how paternity is established, you will need to appear for a court hearing, and for that, you should always have an experienced skilled Hinsdale family lawyer by your side. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, our attorneys can guide you through the process, ensure no mistakes are made, and give you the best chance of success with your case. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.