Reeder & Brown, P.C.


What Do I Do I Find Out I Am Not the Biological Father of a Child?

 Posted on March 31, 2023 in Paternity

Will County Paternity LawyerBecoming a parent is one of the most significant life events a person can go through, and it comes with a host of different emotions. However, the excitement and joy of becoming a parent can quickly turn to shock and dismay when a man finds out that he is not the child’s biological father.

If you have found yourself in this unfortunate situation, you may understandably be filled with questions and concerns. You may wonder whether you will still be obligated to pay child support or whether there is any legal action you need to take to rectify the situation.

Paternity Laws in Illinois

Paternity is the legal father-child relationship. Once paternity is established, a father has the right to seek parenting time (visitation) and custody of his child. The father may also be required to pay child support. When a married couple has a child, the mother’s husband is automatically presumed to be the father. When an unmarried couple has a child, they can establish paternity by signing a document called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP).

Legal Options for Disestablishing Paternity

The steps you need to take to establish that you are not a child’s father depend on whether you have already signed a VAP document. If you never signed a VAP and were not presumed to be the father due to marriage, the process of disestablishing paternity is relatively straightforward. You will file a Petition to Establish the Non-Existence of a Parent-Child Relationship with the court. This document establishes that you are not the child’s father.

If you already signed a VAP because you thought you were the child’s biological father, the situation becomes a bit more complex. If it has been less than 60 days since you signed the VAP, you have the option to file a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity and submit it to the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services. This essentially undoes the acknowledgment of paternity you originally signed.

If more than 60 days have passed since you signed the VAP or otherwise established paternity of the child, the process of disestablishing paternity will likely be long and complicated. Individuals in this situation are highly encouraged to work with an experienced family law attorney. You will need to go to court and prove that you only established paternity because of a mistake of fact.

Contact Our Will County Paternity Lawyer

If you need to disestablish paternity or you have other paternity or child support concerns, our skilled Joliet family law attorneys can help. Call Reeder & Brown, P.C. at 815-885-5980 today to set up a free, confidential initial consultation.



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