In Illinois, paternity is presumed under several circumstances, such as when a child is born into a marriage or the parents are married after the child’s birth and the father named on the birth certificate. Parentage can also be established by consent of the parties with the signing of a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or VAP. The VAP is often signed at the hospital shortly after a child’s birth. Once signed, the father has 60 days to rescind his consent. After 60 days, the only ways to void a VAP is by proving it was signed under duress, through fraud or because of mistake of fact. It’s a high standard with the burden of proof on the challenging party. Even a DNA test proving the absence of paternity is not enough on its own to overturn a VAP.
A VAP is a way of ensuring a father is part of his child’s life and that he takes responsibility for the financial cost of raising the child. The state has an interest in ensuring every child is supported and looks first to the parents. In other words, as a parent, you are responsible for your child’s financial upbringing. Since a VAP is one way the state defines parentage, the man who signs it is presumed to be the father for purposes of support.
For more information on establishing paternity, whether it be for child support or other purposes, you can visit Illinois’ child support website and find there answers to common questions as well as links to forms.