Becoming a parent is one of the many significant milestones in life. It is a chance for you to pass on your knowledge and your legacy to the next generation. As we quickly discover, that legacy is well-earned through the many responsibilities we undertake as parents. We must make an enormous amount of decisions and sacrifices for our children, including providing for their medical care and education, as well as the financial costs required to provide them with an acceptable standard of living.
Unfortunately, information sometimes emerges that paternity is no longer certain, and a parent may be providing for a child who belongs to someone else. This emotionally charged situation happens more than you might guess. For this reason, there is a set legal procedure for disestablishing paternity, which effectively severs the obligation to pay child support or other financial requirements in the future.
If You Are Not the Presumed Father or Have Not Signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP)
If you are married to a child’s mother at the conception or birth of the child, Illinois acknowledges you as the presumed father, making you the legal father of the child in question. If you were not married to the mother at that time and have not signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form, it is possible to disestablish paternity by completing a Petition to Establish the Non-Existence of a Parent-Child Relationship.
If You Completed a VAP Within the Last 60 Days
The VAP is a legal document offered at the hospital to unwed parents to streamline the process of establishing paternity. It is also available at the county clerk’s office, the Department of Human Services, or at a child support office. If you and the mother completed this form within the last 60 days, you may file a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form, have it witnessed, and send it to the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS).
If You Are a Presumed Father or the VAP is Older Than 60 Days
It can be challenging to disestablish parentage once it has been legally established. If you can prove that you signed a VAP under duress or threat or due to a mistake of fact or fraud, a judge may grant the disestablishment. A presumed father may also be able to disestablish paternity if DNA testing shows that they are not the child’s biological father.
Contact a Wheaton Family Law Attorney
An experienced DuPage County paternity lawyer can help build a case to sever the legal responsibilities you have to a child when you are not their biological parent. Even if you and the mother make a verbal agreement, if you do not complete the necessary court procedures to disestablish paternity, you may be held financially accountable later in life. The attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help you take steps to protect yourself and your future. Call us today at 630-871-1002 to schedule your complimentary, confidential consultation.