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Complications With a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity in Illinois

Posted on in Family Law

St. Kane County family law attorney paternity

When a child is born to unmarried parents in Illinois, there are often complicated questions surrounding child support and custody, or even the identity of the child’s biological father. When the parents are in general agreement on the answers to these questions, a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) can help to simplify the process. However, in some cases, complications may arise in the midst of an attempt to voluntarily establish paternity, and it is important that parents know how to handle them.

Presumed Fathers and Denials of Parentage

When only one man has a claim of fatherhood, establishing legal paternity can be as simple as completing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form, ensuring that both parents and a witness sign it, and filing it with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). Upon completion, the acknowledged father will have an obligation to contribute to child support, and the parents can petition the court for an order allocating parenting time and parental responsibilities.

However, the process is complicated when another man has a possible claim of paternity. In Illinois, this can happen when a man, other than the man signing the VAP, is presumed to be the child’s father due to having been married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth, or within 300 days before the child was born. In such a case, that man will need to complete and sign a Denial of Parentage to file along with the VAP in order for the VAP to go into effect.

Rescissions and Challenges

The situation may be even more complicated if a man has previously signed a VAP and later learns that he is not the child’s biological father. If the acknowledged father learns of this within 60 days of filing the VAP, he has the option to legally rescind his voluntary acknowledgment by filing a rescission with (DHFS), at which point he will no longer be considered the child’s legal parent.

However, if 60 days have passed since filing the VAP, the man will instead need to petition for a challenge to the voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. This action must be taken within two years of the date the VAP went into effect, and for the action to be successful, the man must demonstrate that he signed the VAP due to fraud, duress, or a material mistake of fact. This could include a situation in which the child’s mother or another party misled or coerced the man into signing the form. A man may also petition for the declaration of the non-existence of a parent-child relationship based on new DNA evidence demonstrating that he is unlikely to be the father.

Contact a St. Charles Paternity Lawyer

Considering the possible complications of even the most simple way of establishing legal paternity between unmarried parents, it is important for alleged fathers to consult with an experienced Kane County family law attorney who can advise them of their options and their best course of action. For a free consultation, contact the Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II PC today at 847-428-7725.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=3638&ChapterID=59

 

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