The new Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 became effective on January 1, 2016. This new Act entirely repeals the former Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 although many aspects of the new law are consistent with the former. Some major changes are as follows:
Public Policy – The Act is now gender-neutral, providing the same protection for the child’s two parents regardless of the gender of the parents.
Establishment of Parent-Child Relationship – The methods of establishing a parent-child relationship are similar to the previous law. The new Act however makes the provisions for a woman and a man more parallel.
Presumption of Parentage – Although presumptions of parentage are still substantially similar, the new Act has reworded the statutory language for gender-neutrality and added the specific time frame for when a person is presumed to be a child’s parent to be within 300 days of the end of the marriage or civil union. Additionally, under the previous law, some presumptions were rebuttable, under the new Act however, all four presumptions of parentage can be rebutted.
Proceedings to Declare Non-Existence of Parent-Child Relationship – The Act stipulates a two-year limit on actions to declare non-existence of a parent-child relationship.
Genetic Testing – The Act allows the court to consider the best interests of the child before ordering genetic testing to determine parentage. There is a list of ten factors that the court considers in its determination to order testing or not. If a genetic testing specimen is not available from a man who may be the father of the child, the court may order family members of the man to be tested. If there are multiple genetic experts involved and they disagree in their findings, the question shall be weighed with other evidence of paternity.
Determination of Parentage – There are circumstances in which the child is not bound by a determination of parentage, such as the child was no longer a minor at the time the proceeding was initiating and was the moving party resulting in the parenting determination.
Child Rights – The child has a right to bring an action any time, even after the child is an adult, if there is no presumed, acknowledged, or adjudicated parent.
Venue – A child custody proceeding in commenced in the county where the child resides.