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Illinois law presumes paternity if the mother is married, which means the husband does not need to do anything to prove he is the child’s father. However, if you are unmarried to your partner, proving paternity is more complex. One way is to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP), which must be signed by the mother and father to be valid.
However, in some cases, signing a VAP may not be recommended, and other options are better. Learn in this article about when you should wait to sign a PAT. After that, our Palos Heights fathers’ rights lawyer at Michael D. Ettinger & Associates can explain other options to prove paternity.
The Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form is an Illinois legal document that unmarried couples can use to prove parentage. The man is the child’s legal father when the VAP is completed, signed, and turned in to the state. A VAP is often cited as the easiest and most effective legal tool for an unmarried couple to establish who the child’s father is. Signing the VAP does the following under Illinois law:
The VAP is often signed at the hospital after a child’s birth. The man and woman who sign the document are put on the child’s birth certificate as the natural parents. From that moment, the mother and father must fulfill their legal duties as parents.
While signing a VAP is the most efficient way to prove parentage, there are valid reasons not to sign the document. For example, if you doubt that you are the child’s father, you should not sign the VAP. Instead, talk to an attorney about your legal rights.
Another reason to not sign the VAP is when you do not get along with the child’s mother and feel pressured to do so. Remember, once you sign the VAP and the rescission deadline passes, you have few options to deny paternity.
Suppose you signed the VAP, and new facts came to light that make you question your paternity. In that case, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) gives both parties 60 days to rescind the VAP. Whether you found out new information or simply changed your mind, you can rescind the document if you act within 60 days. But once the deadline passes, the VAP is final, and it will be challenging to deny paternity.
If you want to exercise your rights as a father and are unmarried to the mother, you must prove paternity. However, depending on the case, signing a VAP might not always be the best option. Learn more about establishing paternity in Illinois. Contact our Palos Heights fathers’ rights lawyer at Michael D. Ettinger & Associates at (708) 923-0368.