Paternity bill stalls in Senate committee

Lake Toback Attorneys

On March 5, Illinois SB 1867 hit a bump in the road before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would allow fathers to stop paying child support until they determine paternity through DNA evidence. The legislation would affect at least one Edgar County man, who thought a teen boy was his son and, after DNA testing in 2011, discovered that he was not. However, he still pays child support for the boy because he did not comply within the two-year time frame allotted by a statute of limitations.

Currently, a statute of limitations can run out before fathers have time to question paternity. Although the Department of Healthcare and Child Services may be able to handle the problem without passing new laws, federal regulations that place strict time limits on paternity challenges could complicate the issue and require the passage of updated legislation.

The backer of SB 1867 observed that Texas recently passed legislation to address this same issue. He still has hopes that the bill won’t be necessary but is pushing forward just in case. The law also states that even if a father admits to paternity, they can later challenge that admission. The new Senate bill closes loopholes that keep that process from moving ahead.

In 2001, the Illinois man believed he was the child’s father, so he didn’t attend a genetic testing appointment. However, after he met the boy in 2011, he decided to question the child’s paternity.

In this case of dubious paternity, child support was mistakenly ordered by the court. A skilled family lawyer might be able to help the man who was incorrectly identified as the father.

Source: News-Gazette, “Child-support bill stalls,” Tom Kacich, March 5, 2013

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Paternity bill stalls in Senate committee