Paternity: The VAP (Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity) and Why You Need It
Whether you are in an unmarried partnership, are in the midst of a divorce, or are planning to re-marry in the near future and share a child with someone else, paternity establishment is important. It ensures your rights as a parent are protected and that your child’s rights are protected as well. Without establishing paternity, your child’s medical and financial benefits might be at stake, and your parenting privileges can be compromised.
The state of Illinois utilizes various methods to help parents establish paternity, including personal interviews, genetic testing, and judicial court hearings, when necessary. However, you can opt to complete something called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (also called a VAP) if you would like to establish paternity in a simple, straightforward manner. This is typically done right at the hospital when the child is born, although a VAP may be completed, signed, and witnessed at any time for any child born to unmarried parents.
VAP Requirements and Where to Get One
You will find instructions for how to complete the VAP on the front and back of the form, as well as a list of the parents’ rights and responsibilities. To properly complete the form, you will be required to provide information about both parents and the child, and you must also have a witness present to sign and date the form beneath the parents’ signatures. Your witness must be at least 18 years of age and will need to provide their full name, address, and telephone number. It is common practice for the hospital to provide you with a VAP when your child is born if you are not married at the time of the birth, but you can request one at any time at any County Clerk, Human Service, or Child Support Regional Office.
The Purpose of the VAP
The VAP ensures that the correct father’s name is placed on the child’s birth certificate and that the family is able to access important medical information. It also secures the child’s benefits (including any inheritance, veteran’s, or social security benefits) and guarantees the child and father have the right to a legal parent-child relationship.
No matter what your circumstances are, it is important to understand your rights as a parent and to protect your relationship with your child. The right legal representation can make a huge difference in your paternity case. Speak with an experienced Kane County family law attorney to secure assistance with any paternity matters you face. Call Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation today.