When a child is born out of wedlock, establishing legal paternity
is consequential for the father, mother and child. The legal father may need to provide child support payments
to the mother but also has the right to request some allocation of parental responsibilities
. Because DNA testing is not required to establish paternity, some men discover they are not the biological father of the children they are legally responsible for. The false paternity may have been an honest mistake by both legal parents, but mothers may also mislead men into believing they are fathers. Paternity fraud can be devastating because the man:
- Has been providing monthly child support payments; and
- May have developed a paternal relationship with the child.
Men in Illinois can challenge their legal paternity based on fraud but must meet a two-year deadline and provide convincing evidence.