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As part of its overhaul of Illinois domestic laws and statutes, the Illinois Legislature recently approved changes to the Illinois Parentage Act that will become effective January 1, 2016. These changes have been largely applauded and welcomed, with some groups, like the Illinois State Bar Association, claiming that the changes have brought the Illinois Paternity Act into the modern era by recognizing current familial and cultural realities. These changes will affect how issues like child custody and child support are handled by the court.

New Change: Gender-Neutral Language

One of the most notable changes to the Parentage Act is the inclusion of gender-neutral language, recognizing that same-sex couples can be parents of children as well as heterosexual couples. The new Parentage Act recognizes that children in Illinois have the right to the physical, emotional, mental, and financial support of both of their parents, regardless of the gender of each parent or the sexual orientation of the child’s parents.

New Change: Rebuttable Presumptions of Paternity

The new Paternity Act also sets out four rebuttable presumptions of paternity. These replace the existing presumptions of paternity, some of which were conclusory in nature. A rebuttable presumption is one that can be defeated through the presentation of evidence that establishes that the facts and circumstances necessary for the presumption to apply do not, in fact, exist. Under the new law, a person is presumed to be the parent of a child if:

  • If the child is born while the person and the child’s mother are married, in a civil union, or other similar legal relationship;
  • If the child is born within 300 days of the end of a marriage, civil union, or other similar legal relationship between the person and the child’s mother;
  • If the child is born within 300 days of the termination of an invalid marriage, civil union, or other legal relationship between the person and the child’s mother so long as the person and the child’s mother attempted to enter into the relationship in compliance with the law; and
  • If the person and the child’s mother are married, enter into a civil union, or enter into another similar legal relationship after the child is born and the person is listed on the child’s birth certificate as a parent of the child.

New Change: Courts May Disallow DNA Testing

Finally, another big change to the Illinois Paternity Act is that courts are now required to consider 10 factors before deciding whether to allow DNA testing to occur to disprove a parent-child relationship. In particular, the factors are designed to prevent a child from being “ripped away” from the only parent or parents the child has known. A court considering the factors may decline to allow DNA testing if proceeding with the DNA test would not be in the child’s best interest.

Chicago Paternity Lawyers

The experienced Chicago paternity lawyers of Arami Law Office are familiar with these new changes to the Illinois Paternity Act and are able to assist clients throughout Illinois with their paternity issues and concerns. Contact us at (312) 212-1399 and speak with a member of our legal team today to learn how Arami Law Office can assist you.