What is the Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity?

Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity/ father with childA Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage (VAP) (or paternity) in Illinois is a document used when a child is born to unmarried parents. It establishes paternity for the child without going to court. It’s best to consult with one of the many Chicago IL family law attorneys before signing a VAP.

Why sign a VAP?

The VAP establishes parentage of the child, and gives the father rights. It prevents the need to go to court, thus avoiding the fees associated with that. A VAP can be signed at any time before or after the birth of the child.

Who signs the VAP?

The VAP is filled out with information about the child, the mother, and the man trying to prove he is the father of the child. Both parents sign it, and a witness that is at least 18 years old and is not either of the parents or the child also signs it.

What if the mother is married?

If the mother is married to a man who is not the father, her husband must first sign a Voluntary Denial of Parentage. After that, the father can sign the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage.

What if the father is under 18?

A father under the age of 18 can still sign a VAP, and he can do so without his parents’ consent. However, parentage will not be established until six months after he turns 18.

Is there any reason not to sign a VAP?
Before or as a condition of signing a VAP, you can request a paternity test to ensure you are the biological father. Once you sign a VAP, however, you give up that right. Even if a genetic test later proves you are not biologically the father, you will still be that child’s parent unless it has been less than 60 days since you signed it.

Signing a VAP both gives and takes away rights. It’s best to consult with a south Chicago divorce attorney before taking such a huge step. The Law Offices of Michael P. Doman Ltd. can help you understand and make the best decision regarding a VAP before you sign.