What is a “Presumed Father” in Illinois?

What is a Presumed Father in Illinois?

Video by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Article written by Illinois Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
September 3, 2019

In this article, we will answer the questions, “what is a presumed parent?”, “who can be a presumed parent?”, and “is the presumption of parentage legally binding?”.

What is a Presumed Parent?

A “presumed parent” is an individual who is recognized as the parent of a child until that status is confirmed or rebutted in a judicial proceeding.  Presumed parentage can be established if any of the following are true:

  • You are married to the mother of the child, or in a civil union or substantially similar relationship when the child is born;
  • You were married or in a civil union with the mother, and the marriage ended within the last 300 days prior to the birth of the child;
  • You were in and invalid marriage or civil union with the mother within 300 days of the birth of the child, but you and the mother entered the union within apparent compliance of the law;
  • You marry or enter into a civil union with the mother after the birth of the child, and your name is on the child’s birth certificate

Who Can be a Presumed Parent?

A woman that gives birth is presumed to be the mother of that child unless a valid surrogate contract exists before the child is born.  Under the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015, gender-neutrality has been added to give equal rights to same-sex partners under the same provisions to establish “presumed parentage.”  If you are married or in a civil union with the mother of the child; were married to the mother 300 days or less from the birth of the child; or marry or enter into a civil union after the birth of the child and have your name on the birth certificate, you qualify to be the presumed parent of the child, regardless of gender.

Is the Presumption of Parentage Legally Binding?

No.  There are several methods by which paternity (regardless of gender) can be established or denied.  Once designated as a presumed parent, one of the following proceedings must occur before parentage is legally determined by the court:

  • an establishment of a parent-child relationship
  • voluntary acknowledgement of parentage
  • proceedings to declare the non-existence of the parent-child relationship
  • denial of parentage

For more information about how to establish paternity, see our article entitled Illinois Paternity Law Explained.


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