The divorce decree included a child custody agreement. It was for a minor child born to a wife during the marriage. The wife filed a petition alleging that the husband was not paying his share of the child’s expenses.

The husband filed a petition to terminate his parent and child relationship with the minor. Husband had always thought he was the father. DNA results showed that he was not the child’s father. The wife had also told her husband after the divorce that he was not the child’s father.

The wife opposed the husband’s petitions. The wife alleged that husband Johnny failed to exercise due diligence in bringing his claim. And she alleged that he failed to state a claim for fraud on her part. The trial court agreed with the husband. Wife appealed.

The trial court found the husband’s petition timely. He had filed it within 2 years of his acquiring actual knowledge of relevant facts as to the minor’s parentage.

The Court then vacated all previously-entered orders as to custody, visitation, and support. The Court was right in finding that wife fraudulently concealed from the husband facts about who the minor’s father was. Husband had not filed his petition until six months after he had gotten actual knowledge. A six-month delay before the husband’s filing his petition satisfied the due diligence standard. Husband’s decision to terminate the child and parent relationship was a significant decision he had to make.

In re Marriage of Sparks, 2018 IL App (1st) 180932 (December 28, 2018.

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