Establishing Biological Paternity for Unmarried Fathers

by | Apr 21, 2020 | Lawyers

Establishing paternity is an essential step in accessing the father’s rights in Illinois. Unfortunately, without establishing paternity, unmarried fathers may not have access to their child or children or be able to exercise parental responsibilities.

For unmarried fathers, establishing paternity is also critical if there is any question about who the father may be for the child. This is often the case if the mother has had multiple partners at the time of the conception, or if there is a possibility of another man being the father to the child.

Different options in establishing paternity may be appropriate for various situations. Talking with an experienced family law attorney can be instrumental in choosing the option that is best for your specific situation.

Voluntary Acknowledgement (VAP) in Illinois
It is not uncommon for unmarried parents to agree on the paternity of the child. If the couple is married, the paternity is assumed, but this is not the case if the couple is together but unmarried.

To address this type of situation, a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or VAP can be signed by both unmarried parents. This cannot be completed by just the mother, and both parents must sign the original form. Once submitted to the courts, the form establishes the parental rights, responsibilities, and duties of the father.

The VAP eliminates the need for paternity testing, which reduces the cost for the parents. It also speeds up the process as there is no delay in waiting for test results. However, it is also important to understand that this type of agreement is difficult to reverse or revoke after 60 days and will only be revoked under very specific circumstances.

The Administrative Paternity Order
In the state, the Department of Child Support Services has the authority to establish paternity through an Administrative Paternity Order. This is typically done by the mother to provide child support payments for the child. It also establishes the father’s rights.

This type of administrative order may include genetic testing, but it is not always required. In cases where there was an ongoing relationship between the parents, these types of orders are common.

A Judicial Paternity Order
Similar to the Administrative Paternity Order, a Judicial Paternity Order can be used to establish paternity and provide father’s rights. This type of order can also be used by mothers to collect child support and also be children to establish paternity.

These can be complicated cases and working with a family lawyer experienced in paternity cases is the best option for anyone involved.

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