Reeder & Brown, P.C.


What to do if Your Child's Father Will Not Sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

 Posted on July 18, 2023 in Family Law

Joliet Family Law AttorneyMore and more children are born to unmarried couples. While in the past, this could have been scandalous, today it is a very normal way to begin a family. However, there are some steps unmarried parents may need to take to establish that the child’s birth father is their legal father as well. In most cases, unmarried parents have the simple option of filling out a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity at the hospital when the child is born. This document allows the father to be listed on the birth certificate along with the mother. However, VAP’s are just that - voluntarily. No one can be compelled to sign a VAP, even if it is very clear who the father is. In some cases, if a father refuses to sign a VAP, the mother must go to court in order to have that man established as the father of her child. Establishing paternity is an important step that must be taken before the mother can begin pursuing child support or enforcing her child’s other rights. It is best to be represented by an attorney if you must go to court to establish your child’s paternity. 

What Happens if I Need to Go to Court to Establish Paternity?

The process for having your child’s paternity judicially established is relatively simple. Your attorney will file a petition to adjudicate parentage and serve the apparent father with a copy of the petition. A hearing will be set. It is important that you attend this hearing with your attorney. There are several things that may happen. 

If the alleged father fails to appear at the hearing, the judge may issue a default order declaring him the father. This order is generally dispositive and you can begin seeking to enforce your child’s right to be supported by both parents. There is also a chance that the father will appear in court and simply admit that he is indeed the father, in which case the judge will generally also issue a dispositive order. 

However, if the alleged father appears in court and contests the fact that he is the father, the court will likely need to take additional steps to make a determination. This typically means that the judge will order a DNA test. The results of the DNA test will help the judge determine whether to issue an order declaring the respondent your child’s legal father. 

Contact a Joliet Paternity Lawyer 

Reeder & Brown, P.C. is committed to protecting the children of Illinois by establishing who their legal parents are. Our caring Joliet paternity attorneys will strive to keep the process as easy as possible for you. For a complimentary consultation, please call us at 815-885-5980



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