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Establishing parentage in non-traditional families

If you are an Illinois resident who has had or is looking to have a child, you have more options today that many previous generations could ever have imagined. Medical advances in reproductive technology have opened up the world of parentage to single parents, couples impacted by infertility or disease, same-sex couples and more. While there may many wonderful benefits to this for families around the country, the American Bar Association explains that the legal system has not necessarily kept pace with these changes.

Legally, there has always been the presumption that the husband of a woman who has a baby is the baby’s father. Such a decision has even been upheld in cases where genetic testing has proven that the husbands did not, in fact, father the babies. Yet, married lesbian women today do not enjoy this same presumption. And, matters can become even more complicated when one wife is the genetic mother but the other wife is the gestational mother. Gay married men can face even greater challenges in establishing legal parentage.

These types of issues can be problems for people in many situations, including in a divorce. Establishing parentage is an essential part of determining an appropriate agreement for the assignment of parental responsibilities, formerly referred to as child custody. The same holds true for determinations of parenting time, formerly referred to as visitation.

If you would like to learn more about establishing paternity for non-traditional parenting situations, please visit the parentage page of our Illinois family law website.

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  • The Chicago Bar Association
  • Lake County Bar Association | 1912
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  • Illinois State Bar Association
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