Illinois’ amended Parentage Act takes effect in 2016

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Support on Thursday, December 24, 2015.

The calendar is about to turn over to a new year. In Illinois as in other states, this means that new laws passed by the General Assembly will soon take effect.

One of the major pieces of legislation to come out of the Assembly this year was a comprehensive update to the Parentage Act. As the Illinois Bar Journal explains, the Parentage Act of 2015 is the first rewrite of the statute since 1984, and brings the law up to date in several ways.

For example, the new Act recognizes that the definition of parents is not limited to one mother and one father. The Parentage Act of 2015 is a “two parent” statute that guarantees equal rights to parents regardless of their gender. This has important implications for imposing parental responsibilities and protecting the rights of children to have the physical, emotional and financial support of their parents.

People can become parents without ever getting married, and the Act explicitly states that the parent-child relationship, and the child’s legal rights, is not affected by the “legal relationship of the parents.”

Traditionally, a man was legally presumed to be a child’s father if the child was born while the man was married to the child’s mother. The new law expands presumptions of parentage to periods when the possible parent was in a civil union or a “substantially similar legal relationship” with the mother. Alternatively, a presumption of parentage attaches if the child is born within 300 days after divorce or similar relationship termination.

For more information on how the new law might affect your parental rights or your pending divorce, please speak to your divorce attorney.

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