How Does a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity Work in Illinois?

 Posted on February 28, 2024 in Paternity

IL family lawyerThe state of Illinois has specific rules for determining parentage. A woman giving birth is automatically legally recognized as the biological mother. If she is married to a man at the time of the birth, her husband is automatically recognized as the father without any need to prove this to be the case. Things become more complicated when the mother is not married when she gives birth. There are several ways to determine your paternity so that it is legally recognized. If you are not married and you are about to become a father, speak with an experienced St. Charles, IL paternity lawyer to hear more about your options and how you should proceed.

What is Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity?

A voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, or VAP, is a document that includes a declaration by the child’s father that he is, in fact, the father. It needs to be signed by both the father and the mother. When both of the child’s parents voluntarily agree and sign this document, there is no need for DNA tests or any other measures to prove parentage. It is generally signed when a child’s parents are unmarried, but both are interested in each of them being legally recognized as the parents.

A VAP can be signed in the hospital when the baby is born. If that happens, the hospital often makes copies of the signed document for each of the parents to keep, and then both of their names will appear on the baby’s birth certificate. However, if you were unable or unwilling to sign the VAP when your child was born - if, for example, you were not aware that you fathered a child until after the birth but now that you know about the child you want to be a responsible parent - this is no cause for concern. You can sign a VAP at any point from the child’s birth on. If you do not sign it during the birth, you can simply do so and then mail it to the Department of Vital Statistics, which can then add your name to your child’s birth certificate.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a St. Charles, IL Paternity Lawyer

If you have a child but you were not married to their mother when they were born, you will not legally be recognized as their father unless you go through a legal process to do so. If you have any interest in maintaining your parental rights and having a legally-recognized relationship with your child, a compassionate Kane County, IL paternity attorney can help guide you through the process. At Goostree Law Group, we offer free consultations, so call 630-584-4800 to schedule yours.

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