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Disproving Paternity Does Not Always Terminate Parental Obligations

 Posted on May 31, 2019 in Paternity

Disproving Paternity Does Not Always Terminate Parental ObligationsIllinois presumes that the husband is the legal father to any child conceived or born during the marriage. The legal father has a right to parental responsibilities and an obligation to contribute to child support in the event of a divorce. The presumed father can declare the non-existence of a parent-child relationship if he learns that he is not the biological father. If the court grants the action, the man can ask to terminate his legal obligations to the child. However, terminating your parental responsibilities takes more than claiming that the child is not yours.

Time Limit

You must file a petition to terminate your paternity within two years of learning that you may not be the father. The two-year time limit can start at any point, as long as you had no reason to doubt your paternity before learning the relevant facts. For instance, an Illinois court recently approved a man’s petition to terminate his parental obligations when his former wife told him that he was not the father of their 12-year-old daughter. A DNA test proved this to be true, and, after hearing testimony, the court believed that the man had not previously known that he was not the father.

DNA Testing

A genetic test is the surest way to determine whether you are the biological father of a child. Illinois law instructs courts to grant DNA testing when either parent or child requests it. However, the court has the right to deny a DNA test if it believes that it is against the best interest of the child for reasons such as:

  • The length of time that the father has been the parent to the child;
  • The relationship between the child and father;
  • The credibility of the facts that created doubt about paternity;
  • The child’s age; and
  • The negative effect of learning that the man is not the father.

Identifying the Actual Father

Even if you can prove that you are not the biological father, the court might not terminate your parental responsibilities if it does not know who the real father is. Illinois strongly prefers that all children have two legal parents to financially support them. Without identifying the actual father, the court will not be able to transfer your child support obligation to another parent. It may keep your paternal responsibilities intact as the effective father of the child.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

Proving paternity fraud relies on your credible testimony that you did not know or suspect that you were not the biological father of the child. A Naperville, Illinois, family law lawyer at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you present evidence of why the court should terminate your parental obligations. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.


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