How to Establish Paternity in Illinois

IL paternity lawyerThere are many reasons you may want to establish paternity in Hinsdale. You may want to have the right to child custody but are not wed to the mother, or you may be in disagreement with the mother about who the father of the child is. Illinois law presumes that when two parents are married, the husband is the biological father of the child. There is no presumption made, however, when parents are unwed. It is mostly in cases of unwed parents that people wish to establish paternity in the state, although there are certainly some others. No matter the reason, it is important to establish paternity, so that a legal relationship between the father and child can be created.

Establishing Paternity in Hinsdale

In Illinois, there are three different ways to establish paternity. The first is by completing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). This is a document in which both the mother and father agree on the parentage of the child. The mother and the father must both complete and sign the VAP and the father will voluntarily acknowledge that he is the biological parent of the child. Many paternity cases are decided this way. When parents are not married, these forms are often filled out at the hospital shortly after the child’s birth.

If the father disagrees that he is the biological parent of the child, there are then two options. The first is to have the State of Illinois’ Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ (HFS) Child Support Service enter an Administrative Paternity Order. When this document is submitted, the HFS will first try to determine paternity without the need for legal measures. To do this, they will schedule DNA testing and conduct an interview in their office to try and come to a resolution.

Typically used as a last resource when paternity cannot be determined outside of the courtroom, the State’s Attorney’s Office will then represent the HFS in court. The mother and alleged father must both attend this hearing. If the father is absent, a judge can decide on legal paternity without him present.

Reversing Paternity

In many cases, fathers are delighted when paternity is established. However, sometimes men are pressured to sign the VAP or sign it without knowing the full facts of the case. When this is the case, he may wish to reverse legal paternity. This can also be done in Illinois.

To reverse paternity, a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity can be signed by either the father or mother. This form must be submitted to the VAP within 60 days the father signed the VAP, or within 60 days of the administrative or judicial proceeding, whichever one was first.

When more than 60 days of an administrative or judicial hearing, or the signing of the VAP, has passed, a person still has options to reverse paternity. They must file a Motion to Vacate the VAP with a court so a judge may decide whether or not to reverse paternity.

Need Help Establishing Paternity? Call Our Illinois Family Lawyers

If you need help proving or reversing paternity, our skilled Hinsdale family lawyers can help. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, we know the proper channels to go through to prove that you are the father of a child, or to have a paternity decision reversed. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online for a free consultation so we can get started on your case.



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