Establishing your parentage, typically paternity, is critical if you wish to claim an active and ongoing role as the biological parent of a child. At Granholm & Gynac in Joliet, our knowledgeable attorneys will help you choose the best method to legally substantiate your relationship.
According to Illinois law, if you and the mother of a child were not married when they were born, you must take legal steps to establish paternity and have your name added to the birth certificate.
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP)
This is a simple consent form that both you and the mother can sign once the baby is born. The hospital staff will provide you with the VAP so that you can immediately be added to the birth certificate.
However, signing this form also means that you waive the right to genetic testing. In addition, the VAP establishes that both parents accept financial responsibility for the child. It does not grant any rights to custody or visitation, and you will need to go to court and have a judge determine arrangements.
Administrative Paternity Order
Entered by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, this option may be used if either parent is unsure about paternity. HFS will typically have you come in for an interview and settle the matter through genetic testing. If you do not show up and no testing can be done, you may be named the father by default.
Order of Paternity
This is an action that’s brought to court and decided on by a judge. The father or mother (pregnant or post-birth) can initiate the process, as well as a government agency that currently has custody or provides financial support for a child. Again, if the father does not attend the hearing, a judge can establish legal paternity without him being present.
Challenging Your Parentage / Paternity
Conversely, if you have been named as the father of a child and have uncertainty about your paternity or signed a VAP, we can help you contest and potentially rescind your parentage. There is a very short window and very specific legal guidelines that must be followed to present a winning challenge, so do not delay getting in touch with Granholm & Gynac in Joliet. We will defend your rights and protect you from being unfairly burdened with legal obligations such as child support.