Mother Has Appellate Standing To Dispute Dismissal Of Acknowledged Father

The State of Illinois filed a petition claiming parents neglected their child, N.C., and asking to have the State bcome N.C.’s guardian. Alfred had acknowledged he was N.C.’s father. But a DNA test proved otherwise, so the State asked the trial court to dismiss Alfred, which it did.

The trial court also found that N.C. was neglected, and that the mother was unfit. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was appointed N.C.’s guardian.

The mother appealed the finding of neglect and the ruling that Alfred was not N.C.’s father. The state argued that the mother did not have standing in the appeal to dispute Alfred’s paternity.

The Third District Illinois Appellate Court sided with the mother. She had standing to dispute the ruling against Alfred because she was injured by the trial court’s ruling. Here’s how the appellate court explained it:

Standing requires some injury in fact to a legally recognized interest … “Any party to the case may seek appellate review from a final judgment which is adverse to his interest, and whether the party was actually aggrieved does not determine his right to appeal.” … Respondent [mother] and her child have a clear interest in Alfred’s status as the father because of the actual or potential economic and social support owed to the child from the legal father.

N.C.’s mother prevailed in this one; the appellate court reversed in her favor. Read the whole opinion, In re N.C., 2013 IL (3d) 120438, by clicking here.