Illinois Rights to Maternity and Paternity Testing: How can one request DNA testing?

Understanding the Rights to Maternity and Paternity Testing in Illinois

In Illinois, as in many states, determining maternity or paternity can have profound legal implications on issues such as child support, custody, and inheritance. DNA testing is the most reliable method for establishing biological relationships. Knowing how to navigate the process of requesting DNA testing is crucial for individuals seeking to confirm biological ties to a child.

Legal Framework for DNA Testing in Illinois

Under Illinois law, any party with a vested interest in determining parentage has the right to request DNA testing. This includes mothers, presumed fathers, men alleging paternity, or even the child themselves, typically through a legal representative. The legal provisions for these rights are outlined in the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015. This act provides a comprehensive framework for establishing, enforcing, and contesting parentage.

Requesting DNA Testing

To initiate DNA testing in Illinois, a party must file a petition with the appropriate family court. The process involves filling out and submitting legal forms that request an order for paternity or maternity testing. If paternity is contested, courts will commonly order testing to resolve the matter.

When a child is born to unmarried parents, the mother has sole custody until paternity is established. If a putative father seeks to establish paternity and gain custodial rights or visitation, he may file a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) if both parties agree. If not, he can file a Petition to Establish Parentage and request the court to order DNA testing.

Enforcement of DNA Testing Orders

Once a court orders DNA testing, all parties must comply. Failure to do so can result in legal penalties including contempt of court. In cases where an individual refuses to submit to testing without good cause, the court may enter a default judgment against them.

Consequences of DNA Test Results

The results of DNA tests can have significant legal consequences. A positive test confirming biological parenthood can lead to obligations such as child support or confer rights like custody or visitation. Conversely, if someone is found not to be the biological parent, it can extinguish these obligations and rights.

Historical Precedents and Notable Cases

Historically, maternity and paternity issues have been resolved through various means with differing levels of reliability. Before modern DNA testing, blood type analysis was used, although it could only exclude potential parents rather than confirm them. The advent of genetic testing has revolutionized how parentage issues are handled legally.

In notable cases such as County of Los Angeles v. Navarro (2004), DNA evidence was critical in absolving an individual from years of accrued child support debt after being incorrectly identified as a father by bureaucratic error.


Maternity and paternity testing in Illinois are governed by clear legal protocols designed to protect the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved. By understanding the procedures and legal implications associated with DNA testing, individuals can effectively navigate these sensitive matters with informed confidence.