Seeking a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity
As per the legal stature, Paternity is referred to as a state of being a father to a child. With recent developments in science, it is possible – by use of DNA, to settle matters of Paternity before a case is set for trial. Establishing Paternity can be achieved by three distinct ways in Illinois and across various other states, which are:
- Through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form filed and signed with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services,
- Through an Administrative Paternity Order that is entered and established by the Department of Healthcare and Family Service Child Support Services, or
- An official Order of Paternity established by the court.
The Importance of Establishing Paternity
Unless paternity is established, the state cannot provide a child with their legal rights, which include financial security, acceptable to the legal structure and the medical affiliation they need. Financial security involves the ability to receive social security benefits, legal and lawful inheritance of assets, veteran benefits, and ability to operate financial resources as they grow older. Legal rights involve the ability to engage in freedom of expression, the right to vote in elections, apply for employment in the public and private sector, and the ability to run for office and exercise liberty. Medical rights involve the ability to receive treatment, or medical information.
It can get complicated for an unmarried couple to seek paternity, so a skilled family law attorney can help navigate the process and help establish paternity or seek a court order of paternity.
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP)
Form 3416B can be obtained from either the hospital, Local Child Support Office of the HFS, or a local registrar office. It should be signed by both parents to establish a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) when a child is born. After a VAP is signed and received by HFS, it will be used to add the name of the father to the official birth certificate of the child.
By signing the VAP, both parents agree there is no further need for a DNA test and the biological father named on the document could be made officially liable for future child support. However, it should be clear that signing a VAP does not provide the biological father with legal custody of the child or make them eligible for any visitation or parenting time. It only provides the biological father to place their name on the birth certificate or request future parenting time, if applicable.
If you wish to get more information on establishing paternity and other family law matters or want to schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney, contact Cesario & Walker at (630) 920-8800.