Depending on the circumstances and timing of a child’s birth, some Illinois parents will need to take additional steps to ensure that they are their child’s legal parent. Other individuals are presumed to be a parent based on a legal relationship with the child’s mother. If you are a presumed parent, then you will generally not need to take additional steps to designate yourself as a legal parent to the child. In Illinois, biological parentage is not required to sustain a presumption of legal parentage. For example, if a woman is married to another woman who gives birth, both women will be presumed legal parents of the child. The law surrounding parentage is not nearly as simple as it was throughout most of history.
Everything from new technological developments in reproduction to the long-belated acceptance of same-sex parents has had a noticeable impact on Illinois’ parentage laws. There is a reason that Illinois now uses the gender-neutral term “parentage” rather than the old term, “paternity.” An attorney can help you ensure that you are the legal parent to your child.
Understanding the Presumptions of Parentage
When someone is a “presumed” parent, they are automatically treated as the child’s legal parent. One of the simplest ways to become a presumed parent is to be married or in a similar legal relationship, such as a civil union with the mother of the child.
However, as with many legal presumptions, a presumption of parentage can generally be rebutted. For example, if a child is born to a woman who is married to a man, her husband will be the child’s presumed father. If no further action is taken, the husband will be considered the father for all intents and purposes. However, if the husband in this scenario suspects that the child is the product of infidelity, he may challenge the presumption.
In such a case, the alleged father may ask the court to order a DNA test to show that he is not the father. However, there is a statute of limitations – such an action must be brought within two years after discovering facts that would make a reasonable person suspicious.
You could also become a presumed parent if a female adult you had been in a legally recognized relationship with gives birth within 300 days of the termination of your recognized relationship. This is because there is a substantial likelihood that the female adult was already pregnant before the relationship ended. If you have experienced a situation where a recent ex had a child that was not yours, you may want to investigate to ensure that you have not been presumed to be a parent to the child.
Contact a Will County Parentage Lawyer
The Foray Firm is committed to helping parents, alleged parents, and children clarify their legal relationships. Our skilled Homewood parentage attorneys will strive to ensure that your legal parentage status is accurate. Call 312-702-1293 for a confidential consultation.