The Rights of Unmarried Parents - Illinois

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Definitions

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, §§ 46/103; 46/201

An 'acknowledged father' is a person who has established a parent-child relationship. An 'adjudicated father' is a person who has been adjudicated by a court of competent jurisdiction to be the parent of a child. An 'alleged father' is a person who alleges to be the genetic parent or a possible genetic parent of a child but whose parentage has not been established. A 'presumed parent' is an individual who is recognized as the parent of a child until that status is rebutted or confirmed in a judicial or administrative proceeding.

The parent-child relationship is established between a person and a child by any of the following:

  • An unrebutted presumption of the person's parentage of the child
  • An effective voluntary acknowledgment of parentage by the person, unless the acknowledgment has been rescinded or successfully challenged
  • An adjudication of the person's parentage
  • Adoption of the child by the person

Use of Parentage Registries

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/12.1

purpose of determining the identity and location of a putative other parent of a minor child who is, or is expected to be, the subject of an adoption proceeding, to provide notice of such proceeding to the putative other parent. A putative other parent may register with the department before the birth of the child but must register no later than 30 days after the birth of the child. All registrations shall be in writing and signed by the putative other parent.

Except as provided in chapter 750, § 50/8(b) or (c), the other parent who fails to register with the Putative Father Registry is barred from thereafter bringing or maintaining any action to assert any interest in the child unless the person proves, by clear and convincing evidence, the following:

  • It was not possible for them to register within the specified time.
  • The person's failure to register was through no fault of their own.
  • The person registered within 10 days after it became possible for them to file.

Except as provided in chapter 750, § 50/8(b) or (c), failure to register in a timely manner with the Putative Father Registry shall result in either of the following:

  • Be deemed to be a waiver and surrender of any right to notice of any hearing in any judicial proceeding for the adoption of the child, and the consent or surrender of that person to the adoption of the child is not required
  • Constitute an abandonment of the child and shall be prima facie evidence of sufficient grounds to support termination of that person's parental rights

Alternate Means to Establish Parentage

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, §§ 46/301; 46/304; 46/305; 46/401; 46/404

A parent-child relationship may be established voluntarily by the signing and witnessing of a voluntary acknowledgment. The voluntary acknowledgment shall contain the Social Security numbers of the persons signing the voluntary acknowledgment. A voluntary acknowledgment may be signed before the birth of the child and takes effect on the filing of the document with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services. A voluntary acknowledgment signed by a minor is valid if it is otherwise in compliance with this act.

A valid voluntary acknowledgment is equivalent to an adjudication of the parentage of a child and confers upon the acknowledged other parent all the rights and duties of a parent. Parentage established in accordance with § 46/301 has the full force and effect of a judgment and serves as a basis for seeking a child support order without any further proceedings to establish parentage.

A court may, and upon the request of a party or of the child shall, order or direct the child and the child's parents to submit to genetic testing. If the court finds based on the conclusion of the experts regarding the results of the genetic testing that the alleged other parent is not the parent of the child, the question of parentage shall be resolved accordingly. If the experts disagree in their findings or conclusions, the question shall be weighed with other competent evidence of parentage.

If the genetic-testing results indicate that the alleged other parent is not excluded and that there is at least a 99.9 percent probability of parentage, the alleged other parent is presumed to be the child's parent, and this evidence shall be admitted. A person identified as the other parent of the child may rebut the genetic testing results by other genetic testing that excludes the person as a genetic parent of the child or identifies another person as the possible genetic parent of the child.

Required Information

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750 § 50/12.1

The department shall maintain the following information in the registry:

  • The following with respect to the putative other parent:
    • The name, including any other names by which the putative parent may be known and that they may provide to the registry
    • The address at which they may be served with notice of an adoption petition, including any change of address
    • The person's Social Security number and date of birth
    • If applicable, a certified copy of an order by a court of this State or of another State or territory of the United States adjudicating the putative other parent to be the genetic parent of the child
  • The following with respect to the birth parent of the child:
    • The name, including all other names known to the putative other parent by which the birth parent may be known
    • If known to the putative other parent, the birth parent's last address, Social Security number, and date of birth
  • If known to the putative other parent, the name, gender, place of birth, and date of birth or anticipated date of birth of the child
  • The date that the department received the putative other parent's registration
  • Other information as the department may determine by rule is necessary for the orderly administration of the registry

Revocation of Claim to Parentage

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, §§ 46/307; 46/308; 46/309

A signatory may rescind a voluntary acknowledgment by filing a signed and witnessed rescission with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services before the earlier of either of the following:

  • Sixty days after the effective date of the voluntary acknowledgment
  • The date of a judicial or administrative proceeding relating to the child (including a proceeding to establish a support order) in which the signatory is a party

After the period for rescission has expired, a voluntary acknowledgment may be challenged based only on fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact by filing a verified petition within 2 years after the effective date of the voluntary acknowledgment. The verified petition shall be filed in the county where a proceeding relating to the child was brought, such as a support proceeding, or, if none exists, in the county where the child resides. Every signatory to the voluntary acknowledgment must be made a party to a proceeding to challenge the voluntary acknowledgment. The party challenging the voluntary acknowledgment shall have the burden of proof. The burden of proof to challenge a voluntary acknowledgment is clear and convincing evidence. Except for good cause shown, during the pendency of a proceeding to challenge a voluntary acknowledgment, the court may not suspend the legal responsibilities of a signatory arising from the voluntary acknowledgment, including the duty to pay child support.

At the conclusion of a proceeding to challenge a voluntary acknowledgment, the court shall order the Department of Public Health to amend the birth record of the child, if appropriate. A copy of an order entered at the conclusion of a proceeding to challenge shall be provided to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Access to Information

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, §§ 50/12.1; 46/313

The following persons may request the department to search the registry to determine whether a putative other parent is registered in relation to a child who is or may be the subject to an adoption petition:

  • An interested party, including persons intending to adopt a child
  • A child welfare agency with whom the birth parent has placed or has given written notice of their intention to place a child for adoption
  • The birth parent of the child
  • An attorney representing an interested party

Except as provided above, information contained within the registry is confidential and shall not be published or open to public inspection.

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services may release information relating to the voluntary acknowledgment to a signatory of the voluntary acknowledgment; to the child's guardian, the emancipated child, or the legal representatives of those individuals; to appropriate Federal agencies; and to courts and appropriate agencies of this State or another State.