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DNA Testing in Illinois Paternity Suits

Posted on in Paternity

DuPage County family law attorneyFathers’ struggles against unfair co-parents are fairly well known, with many citing statistics about unequal treatment granted to men during parenting time allocation or discussion of spousal support. However, it is important to remember that the opposite narrative does exist. Some mothers have good reasons to fear or dislike the thought of their former partner having visitation rights. If you are suddenly served with a notice of a DNA test or paternity suit, it can be both confusing and frightening.

Voluntary Acknowledgments of Paternity

The public policy of the state of Illinois is to make it so that children have contact with both parents unless there is persuasive evidence to show otherwise. In the case of unmarried parents, this means that the father of the child in question must be determined. Generally, this is done not long after a child is born when both parents complete a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP). If the alleged father does not sign the VAP, he has no legal rights to any parenting time or parental responsibilities for the child in question.

While being acknowledged legally as a child’s father is the only way to guarantee contact with the child (absent any disqualifying conduct), many alleged fathers are unaware of this requirement, and as such, they may refuse to sign until it becomes apparent that they will not be able to visit or have custody of their child without it. Alternatively, a man may have no interest in being a father but may see a chance to make trouble for the child’s mother by delaying and costing her money by asserting his rights. Either way, a DNA test will usually be granted to the one who asks for it if there is even a hint of ambiguity about a child’s parentage..

Your Rights Regarding DNA Testing

Three entities in Illinois may ask for a DNA test to be performed in the context of a paternity suit: the mother, the putative father, and the Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services. You have the right to refuse for yourself but not for your child, though. It is important to note that if you refuse, Illinois law permits the question of paternity to be “resolved … against that party.” In other words, refusing a DNA test may mean that an Illinois court could grant paternity rights to the putative father, since the mother did not comply with a court directive.

Need Help Understanding Your Options?

A good parent wants the best for their child, and if that best does not include the child’s alleged father, it is up to you to tell the court why not. Having one of our knowledgeable DuPage County paternity lawyers on your side can make a significant difference. Contact our office today to set up an initial appointment.


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