Parentage is a far more complicated legal issue than it used to be. Illinois law now recognizes and accounts for gender diversity in parenthood. This can result in some confusion for new parents or people who are trying to become parents. Both medical advances and improved legal protections for LGBT+ parents have changed the way parenthood is looked at from a legal perspective. There are a few ways to establish the identity of a child’s legal parents. Unmarried parents and those using certain alternative methods to become parents may need to take extra steps to make sure they are legally their child’s parent. It is best to be represented by an attorney when navigating this complex and rapidly evolving field of law.
Presumption of Parentage
If a parent is married when they give birth, their spouse will automatically be considered a parent to that baby - even if it is impossible for the spouse to be the biological parent. So, if two women are married, and one of them gives birth, her wife is considered to be her child’s other parent, just as it would be if the mother were married to a man.
Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity
Signing a VAP is generally the easiest way for a child’s biological father to establish themself as the child’s legal parent. If both biological parents sign the form agreeing that they are the biological parents, the father’s name can be added to the birth certificate. This may be done at the hospital when the baby is born.