Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity

Question: I have recently requested a certified copy of a V.A.P. and received a letter stating there was no copy of V.A.P. on file, yet my name is on my kids certificates. I did sign the documents at birth. But no copy was found. Now the only way I see viable is to resign the V.A.P. but the mother has to also sign it. She will not cooperate. Is there any way I can get the V.A.P. without her having to sign the document?


Answer: If the state advises you that they do not have a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) on file, then you may wish to check with the hospital or social service agency that administered the VAP to determine whether they have the documents and failed to file them with the state.  If the person who explained the VAP to you and/or notarized your signature has no record of the VAP, then it appears that whatever you signed was either incomplete or not properly handled and there is nothing you need to do to rescind the VAP which was never filed.  Being named on the birth certificate does not necessarily constitute admission of paternity, as in some states, such as Illinois, the mother completes the birth certificate and may identify anyone or no one as the father as she wishes.

Unless there has been a child support order entered by a state agency or court, or a court order determining custody or visitation, your status as father of the child has not been legally addressed.  If you were subject to a support proceeding, you should have been allowed to seek paternity testing at that time.  You may be able to pursue a determination of non-paternity if you wish to legally establish that you are or are not the father.  You should seek counsel from an experience family law firm, such as Cordell & Cordell, to review the issue with you and advise you as to how to proceed.



Richard Coffee is a Litigation Manager in the Belleville Illinois office of Cordell & Cordell. He is an experienced divorce attorney whose practice is devoted to domestic litigation. He is licensed in the State of Illinois and is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for Northern, Central and Southern Illinois.

Mr. Coffee has extensive domestic litigation trial experience representing clients in courts throughout Illinois on all aspects of domestic litigation, including the representation of clients who are current or retired military personnel with issues under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, clients involved in state court jurisdictional disputes due to the relocation of one or both parties from or to Illinois, and clients with government or private pension benefit valuation and division issues.

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