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In re Parentage of M.J.

Supreme Court of Illinois
787 N.E.2d 144 (2003)


Facts

Alexis Mitchell (plaintiff), individually and on behalf of her twin sons M. J. and N. J., filed a petition against Raymond Banary (defendant) to establish paternity of the twins and request child support. Mitchell and Banary were in a relationship for nearly 10 years. Because Banary was unable to conceive, Mitchell was artificially inseminated with the sperm from an anonymous donor selected by Mitchell and Banary. Banary’s written consent to the artificial insemination was not obtained. However, Banary provided financial assistance for the procedure, took Mitchell to physician appointments, injected Mitchell with medications designed to enhance her fertility, and participated in naming the twins. After the birth of the twins, Banary also provided financial assistance for the care and maintenance of the twins. Subsequently, Mitchell learned that Banary had a different legal name and was already married. Once Mitchell ended the relationship, Banary ceased all provision of financial support to the twins. In her three-count petition to establish paternity, Mitchell asserted that she was eligible to recover based upon: (1) the common-law theory of breach of an oral agreement, (2) the common-law theory of promissory estoppel, and (3) the Illinois Parentage Act (the Act). Banary moved to dismiss the petition on the grounds that the three alternative counts failed to state a legally recognized basis for the establishment of paternity and imposition of child support. The trial court agreed and dismissed the matter. Mitchell appealed. The appellate court affirmed, holding that Mitchell’s common-law theories were not applicable. The Supreme Court of Illinois granted Mitchell’s petition for leave to appeal.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kilbride, J.)

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