Establishing paternity is important for children, fathers, and mothers alike. Indeed, not only does establishing paternity help to ensure that a mother and child get the benefits to which they are entitled (such as a child support benefits), but also that a father is able to seek custody or visitation with his child, and maintain legal parental rights.
That being said, who the father is of a given child is not always clear. When this is the case, a mother may request that an alleged father take a paternity test. For myriad reasons, the father may be in opposition to this request.
If you have been requested to submit to a paternity test, here’s a look at what you should know about your right to refuse:
When You Can Refuse a Paternity Test
If you are an alleged father who is asked by a mother–and not another entity–to sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity form or/and to submit to genetic testing to determine paternity, you have the legal right to refuse to do this. However, while you are legally allowed to refuse–and to do so without consequence–keep in mind that the mother has other legal resources at her disposal, including the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS).
If the mother involves the DHFS, you may be asked to submit to genetic testing. Again, you have the right to refuse. However, this may mean that DHFS will simply obtain a court order.
You Must Comply with a Court Order
If a paternity case goes to court and a judge issues an order for you to submit to paternity testing, you are legally required to do this. If you do not, you are in violation of a court order, and can face consequences as such. If the results of the genetic test show that you are at least 1,000 times more likely to be the father than not, you will be presumed to be the father.
Keep in mind that while you cannot refuse a court order, you can request a secondary test if you believe the first one to be incorrect. It is highly recommended that you work with an attorney at this point in the process if you have not already retained legal counsel.
Establishing Paternity in Illinois
Refusing to take a paternity test is rarely within your best interests, and a woman can almost always have the court request that you do so anyway. What’s more, as stated above, establishing paternity has numerous advantages for all parties involved.
If you have questions about paternity and how to establish it, what your rights are if you are an alleged father, and what happens after genetic testing takes place, call our Naperville family law and paternity attorneys at the offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. today. In addition to Naperville, we serve the areas of Lisle, Lombard, Downers Grove, Wheaton, and Aurora.