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Can Non-Biological Fathers Seek Parental Rights in Illinois?

 Posted on August 10, 2020 in Child Custody

Wheaton family law attorney parental rights

Whether they are divorced from their children’s mother or were never married, biological fathers usually have rights to some involvement in their children’s lives and responsibilities to contribute to their well-being. However, there are many situations in which a non-biological dad may also want to seek fathers’ rights after the relationship with the child’s other parent has ended. For example, you could have been part of a same-sex or opposite-sex couple in which a child was conceived through artificial insemination. You could be an adopted father or stepfather, or you could have raised a child believing you were the biological father and later found out otherwise. From a legal standpoint, these situations are not as clear-cut, but a recent Illinois court ruling has established that non-biological parents can have parental rights under certain circumstances.

Illinois Appellate Court Ruling on Non-Biological Parental Rights

In 2018, an Illinois appellate court heard a case involving a same-sex couple who conceived a child through artificial insemination and later separated. During the divorce, the child’s biological parent sought full custody, while the non-biological parent sought to assert parental rights including shared custody and visitation. The trial court initially ruled in favor of the non-biological parent, and the appellate court upheld the decision on the basis that there was a parent-child relationship and that the couple had made the joint decision to conceive through artificial insemination.

Implications for Other Non-Biological Parents

Although the above case involved a specific kind of family, the ruling has implications for a variety of situations involving non-biological parents. In general, if you are not biologically related to a child, but you have entered an agreement with the child’s biological parent and willingly acted as a parent to the child, you may have a case for parental rights. However, the court must still determine whether exercising these rights is in the child’s best interest based on factors, including your pre-existing relationship with the child. This also means that non-biological parents in similar situations may be obligated to pay child support and fulfill other parental responsibilities after the dissolution of the relationship with the biological parent.

Contact a Lombard, IL Family Law Attorney

Parental rights cases involving non-biological parents are often complex, and legal interpretations are still evolving. An experienced family lawyer can give you the best chance of navigating the complexities of the laws and asserting your legal rights to custody and visitation with your child. At A. Traub and Associates, we know how much your relationship with your child means to you, and we can help you protect it. Call a compassionate DuPage County parental rights lawyer today at 630-426-0196 to schedule a private consultation.




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