FAMILY LAW BASICS
Illinois’ Policy Under the Parentage Act
Illinois recognizes the right of every child to the physical, mental, emotional, and financial support of his or her parents. The parent-child relationship, including support obligations, extends equally to every child and to his or her parent or to each of his or her 2 parents, regardless of the legal relationship of the parents, and regardless of whether a parent is a minor. The provisions of the Act applicable to parent-child relationships shall apply equally to men and women as parents, including, but not limited to, the obligation of emotional and financial support.
The parent child relationship is established between a woman and a child by:
the woman having given birth to the child;
an adjudication of the woman's parentage;
adoption of the child by the woman;
a valid gestational surrogacy arrangement that complies with the Gestational Surrogacy Act or other law, or;
an unrebutted presumption of the woman's parentage of the child under Section 204 of the Act.
The parent child relationship is established between a man and a child by:
an unrebutted presumption of the man's parentage of the child under the Act;
an effective voluntary acknowledgment of paternity by the man, unless the acknowledgment has been rescinded or successfully challenged;
an adjudication of the man's parentage;
adoption of the child by the man, or;
a valid gestational surrogacy arrangement that complies with the Gestational Surrogacy Act or other law.
After Parentage is Established
Once paternity is established, paternity or family law cases (designated as "F" cases by the Circuit Clerk's Office) in Illinois are ultimately subject to most of the same laws that govern matters in divorce cases regarding children. The issues of parenting time and parental decision-making (i.e. custody and visitation) and child support follow the same rules and procedures that apply in divorce cases. Paternity cases are also subject to the same laws governing modification and enforcement of parenting time orders/agreements, parental decision-making orders/agreements and child support orders. Additionally, both parties must complete parenting classes and if they are unable to resolve parenting time and parental decision-making issues by agreement, the court will order the parties to attend mediation.