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Contesting Your Paternity of a Child

 Posted on August 28, 2017 in Paternity

Contesting Your Paternity of a ChildEstablishing paternity after a child is born is important for all parties involved. The father gains the allocation of parental responsibilities. If the parents are not together, the mother can collect child support from the father. The child knows who his or her father is and can decide whether to pursue a relationship later in life. The father is most often the mother’s current or most recent romantic partner, but there are exceptions. A presumed father who believes he is not the biological father must make a choice: 

  • If no one else claims paternity, he can accept responsibility as the child’s legal father; or
  • He can deny his paternity, which may require going to court.

Unmarried Men

If your current or former girlfriend has a child out of wedlock, you can legally establish yourself as the father by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. However, you should wait on signing the document if you have a reasonable doubt that you are the father. Once you have signed a VAP, you have 60 days to cancel it. After that, a court will rescind your paternity only if you can prove you signed the document under fraudulent circumstances or duress. If you refuse to sign a VAP, the mother may take you to court to establish paternity. The court will determine whether you are the father and what parental responsibilities and obligations to assign to you.

Married Men

It is more difficult for a husband to deny paternity of his wife’s child. By Illinois law, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if he was married to the mother at the time of conception. The only way to overrule this presumption is:

  • If you submit a Denial of Paternity form; and
  • The biological father and mother sign a VAP.

Without the VAP, you are still the legal father of the child, even if you are not the biological father.

Paternity Testing

In order to determine paternity, a court may order a DNA test. If you are not the biological father, the test should definitively prove it. Illinois law states that a man is presumed to be the biological father if a DNA test shows that he is at least 1,000 times more likely to be the father than another, random man.

Paternity Cases

When you are unsure about whether you are the father of a child, you should consult with an attorney before signing any official documents. A DuPage County family law attorney at Calabrese Associates, PC, can inform you of your rights to either establish or deny paternity. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.


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