Reeder & Brown, P.C.


How Do I Prove Paternity in Illinois?

 Posted on September 08,2023 in Family Law

Joliet, IL paternity lawyerPaternity is the legal relationship between a father and his child. It is important to establish paternity for several reasons, including:

  • To determine a child's legal rights and responsibilities, such as the right to inherit property, receive child support, and have visitation rights

  • To obtain a birth certificate for a child that lists the father's name

  • To ensure that the father is held accountable for his financial obligations to his child

There are a few ways to prove paternity in Illinois. The best way will depend on the individual circumstances. If you are unsure about how you should establish paternity, your best course of action is to consult with an attorney.

Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP)

The most common way to establish paternity in Illinois is through a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP). The VAP is a form that is signed by the mother and the alleged father. It is notarized and filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).

The VAP is a legally binding document that establishes paternity. It is a good option for parents who agree about a child's father.

Administrative Paternity Order

If the mother and the alleged father cannot agree on paternity, HFS may establish paternity administratively. This is done through a process called an Administrative Paternity Order (APO).

To obtain an APO, the mother must file a petition with HFS. The petition must be accompanied by evidence that supports the mother's claim of paternity. This evidence may include:

  • The alleged father's signature on the VAP

  • A DNA test result that shows the alleged father is the child's biological father

  • The alleged father's acknowledgment of paternity in writing

  • The alleged father's financial support for his child

If HFS finds that the mother's petition is supported by the evidence, it will issue an APO. The APO establishes paternity and gives the father the same rights and responsibilities as a biological father.

Judicial Paternity Order

When the mother and the alleged father cannot agree on paternity and HFS cannot establish paternity administratively, the father may file a paternity case in court. This is called a Judicial Paternity Order (JPO) or Order of Paternity. A father may also do this if the mother disputes the man’s paternity claims.

To obtain a JPO, the father must file a petition with the court. The petition must be accompanied by evidence that supports the father's claim of paternity. This evidence may be the same evidence that is used to obtain an APO.

The court will hold a hearing on the petition. At the hearing, the mother and father will have the opportunity to present evidence and testify. The judge will then decide whether to issue a JPO.

DNA Testing

DNA testing is the most accurate way to establish paternity. A DNA test can be used to determine whether the alleged father is the biological father of a child.

DNA testing can be done through a private laboratory or through HFS. If the alleged father agrees to a DNA test, it can be done quickly and easily. If the alleged father does not agree to a DNA test, the court may order him to take a test.

Consult a Joliet, IL Paternity Lawyer

Establishing paternity is a great way to connect father and child both legally and emotionally. If you are unsure of what method works best for you, then you should contact a Will County, IL paternity attorney immediately. At Reeder & Brown, P.C., we can provide the necessary guidance on how to make the best choice for your unique situation. Call us now for a free consultation at 815-885-5980.

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