St. Charles Family Law AttorneyIn Illinois, there are several paths to establishing that you are the father of your child. If you are married to the mother around the time the baby is born, you will likely be declared the father automatically. If this is the case, you do not need to take any further steps to become a legal father as well as a biological one. However, if you are not married to the mother, you will need to take additional steps. In some cases, you may even need to go to court to have yourself declared the legal parent of your child. A court can order a DNA test if the mother denies that you are the child’s birth father. However, the easiest way to establish legal parentage is usually by signing a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. If you are unsure about your own path to legal parentage, it is best to speak with an attorney about what your options are.

Understanding a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

In nearly all contexts, Illinois law uses the term “parentage” instead of “paternity.” You may hear this document referred to as either a “voluntary acknowledgement of parentage” or a “voluntary acknowledgement of paternity.” This document is generally used by unmarried parents  who want their child’s two legal parents established easily.

Essentially, a VAP allows a birth father to voluntarily declare that he is the child’s father. It is simply a form that can be signed by both the mother and the father stating that they are the biological parents of the child. When a VAP is completed, there is no need for either parent to go to court to prove that the child is theirs. No DNA test is required.

When Can a VAP be Signed?

In most cases, a VAP can be signed at the hospital when the child is born. Hospitals generally can make copies of this form available to the new parents right away so that both names can be immediately placed on the birth certificate. However, this form can be completed at any point while the child is growing up and mailed in later. When the form is received by the Department of Vital Statistics, the father’s name can be added to the birth certificate. This is often done when the father does not find out he is a father until after the child is born.

Contact a Kane County Paternity Lawyer

[[title]] is experienced in helping fathers establish their legal parentage. Our skilled Kane County parentage attorneys can help you in your journey to becoming a legal parent as well as a biological one. To begin with a complimentary consultation, please contact us at [[phone]].