A case had been brought by DCFS against the mother and the man (‘PF’ for Presumed Father) who called himself the father of one (A.A.) of four children. PF was the mother’s live-in boyfriend.

PF had signed a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, VAP. He listed himself as the father on the child’s birth certificate. He is only presumed to be the father of the child. That presumption can be set aside by clear and convincing evidence. The evidence must support the fact that another man is the biological father of the child.

DNA testing revealed that PF was not A.A.’s biological father. The mother of A.A. had not been sure about who the father was. She thought it might be a man who was now deceased. DNA proved that the deceased man was the father of A.A…

An attorney had been appointed to represent all four of the mother’s children. That attorney filed a petition to declare the nonexistence of the parent-child relationship for PF.

DCFS persons testified about troublesome conditions at the house where the mother resided with her children and PF. The house and the children were both filthy and unkempt. The children, ages five and younger, were left at the home on their own on occasion.

PF testified that he was willing to accept the responsibility for all four of the children. PF’s attorney argued that it was in the best interest of A.A. that, at the very least, PF remain A.A.’s legally recognized father. The Trial Court ruled against PF. PF appealed.

The Appellate Court agreed with the Trial Court. At a best-interests hearing, the court looks at the child’s interest in a stable, loving home life. That is weighed against the parent’s interest in maintaining the parent-child relationship.

The court agreed that the best interest standard did not come into play here. PF was proven by DNA evidence not to be the father of A.A. PF had no legal rights to the children or A.A. here. The case was returned to the Trial Court. DCFS would keep custody of the four children for the time being.

In Re A.A., 2014 IL App (5th) 140252.

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