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What You Need to Know About Voluntarily Acknowledging Paternity

Posted on in Paternity

shutterstock_1130350775.jpgWhen a child’s parents are married, there is usually no question about the identity of the child’s father, and both parents will have the legal rights and obligations that come with parenthood. However, when a child is born to unmarried parents, additional steps will need to be taken to legally establish paternity. In many cases, this is done by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form. When doing so, parents will need to understand their rights and requirements, and they may also need to address other related legal issues.

Issues That May Affect a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity

Until paternity is established, a father may not be recognized as a child’s legal parent. If the parents are in agreement that a man is the child’s biological father, they can sign and submit a VAP form together. This form may be provided at the hospital where a child is born, but it is also available from other state and local government offices, such as a county clerk, and it may be signed at any time after a child is born. After a father is recognized as a legal parent, he will have the right to share in child custody and parenting time, and he will have an obligation to provide child support

A VAP form will usually state that a child does not have a presumed parent. A presumed parent may include the mother’s spouse or an ex-spouse who terminated their marriage with the mother within 300 days before the child was born. If a child has a presumed parent, a VAP must state the name of that person, and the presumed parent will need to sign and submit a denial of parentage.

If the parents submitted a VAP, and the father later learned that he was not the child’s biological father, he may rescind his acknowledgment of paternity. This may be done by submitting a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, or a presumed parent may submit a Rescission of Denial of Parentage. A rescission must be submitted within 60 days after the date the VAP became legally effective. 

After the 60-day period, a parent or presumed parent may challenge a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or denial of paternity in court. A challenge may be based on fraud, such as allegations that a mother lied about the identity of her child’s father, or a person may claim that they were forced to acknowledge paternity through threats, coercion, or other forms of duress. Challenges may also be based on mistakes made by one or more parties, such as the honest belief by both parties that a man was a child’s biological father.

Contact Our Kane County Paternity Lawyers

Establishing legal parentage will protect the rights of the parents and the child, but it is important to understand the issues that may need to be addressed during paternity proceedings. Goostree Law Group can provide legal help to address concerns related to paternity and parental rights, and we can also help parents resolve any disputes over how they will share custody of their child. Contact our St. Charles paternity attorneys today at 630-584-4800 to set up a free consultation today.


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