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How Can I Establish Paternity if the Father Refuses to Cooperate?

Posted on in Divorce

wheaton divorce lawyerEstablishing the paternity of the child born in Illinois is an important legal process that can benefit everyone. The child’s father needs to know he has a child, the mother often needs help financially supporting a child, and a child deserves a relationship with both of her parents. 

Sometimes, however, the mother may struggle to officially establish paternity because the alleged father does not want the responsibility of having a child and is avoiding paternity testing. Illinois law provides help for mothers in this situation. 

How Can I Prove Paternity in Illinois? 

When a couple is married, Illinois law presumes the husband to be the father. However, when two people are not married, things are a little more complicated - even if they are in a relationship. The easiest and most common way of establishing paternity is by having both parents sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). This is frequently done at the hospital when the child is born, so both parents can be listed on the child’s birth certificate, but both parents must be present and agree to have each other sign the VAP. 

If the father is not present at the child’s birth, the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) can establish an Administrative Paternity Order to determine paternity. This can include mandatory genetic testing of the alleged father. Administrative Paternity Orders are generally issued when a mother seeks child support from the child’s alleged father.

Genetic testing is a straightforward procedure, usually involving nothing more than a cheek swab sent to a laboratory to compare DNA samples. Alleged fathers who dispute the findings of a court-ordered DNA test may want to do their own testing through an independent laboratory. 

What if the Father Refuses to Cooperate? 

When ordered by a court, paternity tests become a legal requirement. Men can be held in contempt of court for refusing to submit to a court-ordered paternity test, which may lead to criminal charges and fines. Sometimes a court will determine a man to be the father of the child, even without genetic testing, and order him to pay child support. 

Speak with a DuPage County Paternity Lawyer

Establishing paternity is crucial for ensuring you can get the financial support you need for your child. A skilled Wheaton, IL paternity lawyer with The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. can help you establish paternity and make sure your child’s needs are met. Call our offices today at 630-462-9500 to schedule a confidential consultation. 





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