What is a Presumption of Paternity Under Illinois Law?
By: M. Scott Gordon
If you are seeking to establish paternity for your minor child, you might have heard of the term “presumption of paternity.” What is a presumption of paternity under Illinois law, and how does it establish the rights and responsibilities of a parent? Generally speaking, matters of paternity—and the presumption of paternity—in the Chicago area are governed by the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 (750 ILCS 46/). That statute defines a “presumed parent” as “an individual who . . . is recognized as the parent of a child until that status is rebutted or confirmed in a judicial or administrative proceeding.”
But how does that presumption arise? And what are the ways in which it might be disputed?
Defining the Presumption of Paternity in Chicago
A presumption of paternity refers to situations in which the law says that a person is the child’s presumed parent—typically the father. A presumption of paternity typically happens in cases where there is no direct evidence that the parent is the child’s biological parent, but there are other ways in which that person is presumed to be the parent (and therefore responsible for providing care and support to the child). Situations in which there is a presumption of paternity may include:
Since a presumption means only that parentage is presumed, there are ways either to provide evidence of paternity or to dispute paternity. Presumptions of paternity can be disputed, for example, with DNA evidence and other forms of documentation.
How the Presumption of Paternity Extends to Same-Sex Couples
The Illinois Parentage Act also extends to same-sex couples, including when it comes to the presumption of parentage. All of the scenarios listed above apply to same-sex couples in theory. So, for example, if one woman (the biological mother) in a same-sex couple gets pregnant while she is married to or in a relationship with another woman (the wife or partner), then the wife or partner may be a presumed parent under the law.
As you might guess, however, the law is not always equal when it comes to men in a same-sex relationship since the law does not specifically provide for a presumption of parentage or presumption of paternity in cases where two men in a same-sex relationship decide to have a child through a surrogate or by other means.
Learn More from a Chicago Paternity Lawyer