As defined by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, paternity is a legal relationship between a father and a child. If a man learns he is not the biological father of a child, it is possible for paternity to be disestablished — meaning a man’s parental rights and parental responsibilities will be terminated. How and when paternity can be disestablished depends on the specific circumstances of the case. Here, our Bolingbrook paternity lawyers explain the different ways in which paternity can be disestablished in Illinois.
How to Disestablish Paternity in Illinois: Three Scenarios
In Illinois, a married man is the “presumed” father of his wife’s child. If your wife gives birth, you do not need to take any action in order to establish paternity — it happens automatically. One of the consequences of this is you do have to take legal action to disestablish paternity.
As a rule, DNA testing must be conducted to determine whether a married man is actually the biological father. If so, he obviously will not be able to disestablish paternity. If he is not, then paternity might be disestablished. It is not always automatic.
It depends on when and how the man in question became aware of this fact. If a married man learns he is the biological father of his wife’s child, he must take immediate action to disestablish paternity. If he waits too long to file a petition, a judge may deny his claim.
Under Illinois law, unmarried men have the ability to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form to establish parental rights and responsibilities over a child. In order to be legally valid in Illinois, this form must be completed properly and must be signed by both the mother and the father.
If you signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form, you have 60 days to rescind it. If you file a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgement form within 60 days, it will cancel the effect of the initial form. To be clear, this is a very strict deadline. After two months, you no longer have the right to rescind an acknowledgment of paternity.
As was mentioned, you can no longer simply rescind paternity after 60 days have passed. To terminate paternity after 60 days of official acknowledgment, an unmarried man must file a petition with the court. In disestablishment of paternity proceedings, you will be required to prove the initial form was signed because of duress, fraud, or a mistake in material fact.
Discuss Your Case with Our Aurora Paternity Lawyers Today
At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois paternity attorneys are skilled, attentive advocates for clients. If you have questions or concerns about disestablishing paternity, we can help. To set up a free, no-obligation consultation with a family law attorney, please contact us today. With law offices in Naperville, Aurora, and Bolingbrook, we represent parents and families throughout the entire Chicago region.