The public policy of parenting in Illinois is to recognize “the right of every child to the physical, mental, emotional and monetary support of his or her parents.” In Illinois, if a baby is born to married parents, it is presumed the husband is the biological father. However, if a baby is born to unmarried parents, the “alleged” father is not considered the biological father until paternity is legally established.
Substantiating legal paternity is important for a father-child relationship to flourish. It allows the child access to benefits like Social Security, medical insurance, and other state, federal, and inheritance opportunities available. The establishment of legal paternity is the first step in the legal process of ensuring protection and provisions for each child.
A Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) is the simplest way of establishing legal paternity. More specifically, it serves as a legally binding agreement that acknowledges the father as the biological father of the child. It ensures that the child is provided for financially and medically. By signing the VAP, both parents waive their rights of obtaining genetic testing to determine the father of the child.
It is important to note that a VAP does not establish custody, visitation rights, or child support; however, it is often used in court proceedings when there is conflict between parents. Signing a VAP could mean an onset of financial obligations; therefore, it is essential that a father is certain of his paternity before signing the VAP. If a VAP is not rescinded after 60 days, it becomes a final determination of parentage.
In order to view a copy of a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, please visit Child Support Services at link. Regardless, it is best to consult with a Family Law attorney to recognize all aspects of a parent’s rights. Please contact our office at (815) 600-8950 to schedule a free consultation.