There are some Illinois family law cases in which there is a dispute over paternity of a child at birth. Because paternity is a key factor in child support and visitation, it is important to understand how paternity can be established. Before having genetic tests to determine the identity of the biological father, it is possible to have a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage. When there is a disagreement about these key concerns, legal assistance is essential.
The voluntary acknowledgment will be established if it is signed and witnessed based on the law. It must have the parents’ vital information such as a social security number and tax identification numbers. The absence of these will not make the agreement invalid. To be valid, the voluntary acknowledgment must: be recorded; be signed or authenticated by the mother and father; state that the child does not have a presumed parent or has a presumed parent with his or her name stated and does not have another parent who has been acknowledged or adjudicated; have witnesses; and state that those signing the agreement understand that signing will mean that the person is the legal parent.
The agreement can be voided if: another person is stated as the presumed parent barring a denial that has been authenticated and filed; states that another person has been identified as the adjudicated or acknowledged parent; or falsely denies that there is another presumed, adjudicated or acknowledged parent. The parentage can be denied if a parent signs a document stating as such. The denial will be valid if: the voluntary acknowledgment was signed and authenticated by a man and it is filed appropriately; it is recorded, signed or authenticated; the presumed parent never acknowledged parentage unless there was a prior voluntary acknowledgment and it was rescinded, or had been adjudicated to be the child’s parent.
When there is a dispute over a child’s parentage it can be a complicated and problematic issue for everyone involved. Since the legal determination of parentage is one of the critical factors in various family law issues – especially when it comes to unmarried couples – having legal assistance to understand a voluntary acknowledgment and when it can be established and denied is crucial. A law firm that is experienced in all aspects of family law can be of assistance in a case.