According to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, paternity is a legal relationship between a father and a child. It is the fundamental basis of a man’s parental rights and parental responsibilities — meaning a mother cannot successfully obtain child support without establishing paternity.
When a dispute arises regarding a child’s parentage, the matter is often resolved through genetic testing. This raises an important question: What happens if a man simply refuses to take a paternity test? Here, our Naperville and Bolingbrook family lawyers answer the question by explaining the process under Illinois paternity law.
As a starting point, it is important to emphasize that both mothers and putative fathers have a right to request genetic testing for a child. Either party can initiate the process. In many cases, both sides can cooperate to get DNA testing completed — thereby confirming or denying paternity in a manner that satisfies state standards. If the test confirms paternity, then the case can move forward to the next stages of the process. When possible, cooperation offers advantages because it allows the parties to get testing done in a reliable way, which promotes mutual trust.
If the alleged father simply refuses to submit to genetic testing, a mother still has legal options available. In Illinois, a man has a responsibility to provide financial support to his children — and he cannot escape the obligation by simply refusing to take a paternity test. When voluntary cooperation by the alleged father is no longer a realistic option, our Illinois paternity lawyers can help you prepare a paternity action to get the support your family needs and deserves.
You can file a claim with the court alleging paternity. In hearing these types of cases, Illinois courts will typically mandate genetic testing of the father and the child. If the DNA tests prove to be a match, paternity will be established. What happens if the man does not show up to court? The answer depends on the specific circumstances, but Illinois courts can and will enter a default judgment of paternity against an alleged father who declines to participate with a valid legal proceeding.
The Bottom Line: In Illinois, a man cannot stop a paternity case by refusing to cooperate with it. While he can make the process more cumbersome and more frustrating, a court can order genetic testing and, if necessary, enter a default finding of paternity.
At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois paternity lawyers are experienced, highly qualified advocates for clients. Our mission is to protect your rights and help you find solutions. If you have questions about mandated paternity testing, we are here to help. To arrange a no-cost, confidential review of your paternity case, please contact us today. From our locations in Naperville and Bolingbrook, we represent clients in paternity actions throughout the entire region.