Parents have a moral and legal obligation to help support their children. Unfortunately, getting the financial support you need as a single parent can be complicated if a parent does not cooperate. If you are a mother who wishes to get child support from your child’s father, there are several steps you may need to take. If you were not married to the child’s father when your child was born, there is no legal presumption of paternity. You may need to establish the father’s legal relationship to the child before you can get child support from him.
When the Father Acknowledges His Parentage
If your child’s father acknowledges that he is the child’s biological father, the process of establishing paternity is much easier. You can establish the legal relationship between your child and the father using a document called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). You and the child’s father simply fill in the required information, include copies of your government-issued IDs, and sign the document. Unfortunately, the process is more involved if the father does not voluntarily acknowledge his parentage.
Establishing Paternity When the Father Refuses to Sign the VAP
If the father does not think that he is the child’s biological father, wants to evade financial responsibility for the child, or otherwise refuses to sign the VAP, you may need to get an administrative paternity order. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) is the branch of the Illinois government that deals with paternity issues. The DHFS will contact the father and try to establish paternity without needing to go through the courts. If the father does not believe that he is the child’s biological father, the DHFS will schedule DNA paternity testing. If the father does not show up for the paternity test, the DHFS may automatically deem him to be the child’s father.
In some cases, you may need to take legal action to establish paternity. If you seek to establish paternity through the court, you and the alleged father will be asked to attend a paternity hearing. If the father does not attend the hearing, he may be declared the father by default. Once paternity has been established, you can start the process of requesting child support.
Contact a Kane County Paternity Lawyer
If you want to secure child support from your child’s father, you will first have to establish his paternity. For help establishing paternity, requesting child support, enforcing a current child support order, and much more, contact a St. Charles family law attorney at Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call 630-584-5550 for a free consultation....