I met with a client last week who just discovered that the child who he has been supporting for the last twenty-two months is not actually his child. He found out just in time too.
On May 1, 2007, my client signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity ("VAP"). The mother of the child had convinced him at that time that he was the father. Recently, certain comments made by the mother have led my client to believe that he was not the father. So, he took the child to the clinic for a paternity test. The test excluded my client as the father.
Voluntary acknowledgements of paternity are "conclusive presumptions" that operate as final judgments of paternity and "serve as a basis for seeking a child support order without any further proceedings to establish paternity." 750 ILCS 45/6(b).
Illinois law allows for sixty days in which to rescind a VAP. After sixty days, the only way to vacate a VAP is to file a 2-1401 petition on the limited grounds of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact. Illinois Dept. of Public Aid v. Graham, 328 Ill.App.3d 433 (3rd Dist. 2002).
As you know, 1401 petitions must be filed within two years of the judgment. So, on May 1, 2009, my client would have would have lost the right to vacate his VAP, and he would have been obligated to support this child for the next sixteen years. He made it here just in time.