When a couple marries and has children, but later decides to obtain a divorce, they must agree to abide by a court-approved child custody agreement. While couples who were never married, but are still going through the process of separation do not have to obtain a divorce, they must also comply with a custody order. However, it can be much more difficult to determine child support and a custody arrangement when a couple was never married, especially if a child’s paternity is in question, so if you are interested in establishing or disputing your child’s paternity, please contact an experienced Arlington Heights divorce attorney who can help walk you through the process.
Presumption of Paternity
Paternity is a term used to describe the legal relationship between a father and a child. In some cases, paternity can be presumed, including when:
- A child was born during a couple’s marriage;
- A child was born within 300 days after the termination of a couple’s marriage or civil union;
- A child was born within 300 days of a marriage that was later declared invalid; or
- A child was born before a couple’s marriage, but the father’s name is included on the birth certificate.
However, there are other ways to establish paternity in Illinois, which include:
- Signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form in the presence of a witness;
- The issuing of an administrative order by child services; and
- The issuing of an Order of Paternity by a family court.
Voluntarily Acknowledging Paternity
The easiest method to establish paternity is to complete a VAP when the child is born. To be considered valid, the form must meet certain standards, including that it:
- Is completed and signed by both parents in the presence of a witness; and
- Is signed and dated by the witness and includes the witness’s contact information.
Either parent can withdraw a VAP by signing an official Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity document. However, parents only have the option of rescinding the VAP for two months after the original VAP was signed. After this deadline has passed, a VAP cannot be withdrawn unless a court orders it based on fraud, duress, or mistake of fact.
In cases where one or both parties disputes paternity, a court can require the alleged father to take a genetic test where the DNA of the child, the mother, and the subject will be compared. Usually, the test is done by swabbing the inside of each party’s cheek. In Illinois, a man will automatically be presumed to be a child’s father if a genetic test reveals that he is at least 1,000 times more likely to be the father than a random person.
Contact an Experienced Arlington Heights Divorce Attorney Today
To find out more about the process of establishing paternity in Illinois, please contact experienced Arlington Heights divorce attorney Susan A. Marks today by calling SAM LAW OFFICE LLC at 847-255-9925 or by sending us a brief message containing a short description of your case.