Considerations for Stepparent Adoptions in Illinois

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,In the United States, the traditional family unit has been changing more and more with each passing year. Families only comprised of a married mother and father and their biological children are now not the only “acceptable” form of a family. With the legalization of gay marriage in the U.S. in 2015, more families are composed of same-sex couples with adopted children. With divorce becoming more common and more socially acceptable, blended families have also become more common. Sometimes, to complete a blended family, step-parents may want to adopt their spouse’s children. This is called stepparent adoption and it is the most common form of adoption in the U.S.

Special Considerations

Related and unrelated adoptions are very similar in some ways, but also very different. Related adoptions can often be easier to complete than unrelated adoptions, but they do come with their own specific set of factors that should be taken into consideration. These include:

  • Illinois, like many other states, only allows a child to have two legal parents at any given time. If a stepparent wishes to adopt their stepchild, they will have to get the child’s biological parent to give up their parental rights to the child;
  • The stepparent who is attempting to adopt the child must be married to the child’s parent that has the majority of parenting time. Typically in divorce cases, the child will reside with one parent for most of their time and will visit the other parent on occasion. The stepparent adopting the child must be married to the parent the child lives with.
  • There are a few different parties that you must get consent from before the adoption can proceed. If the child’s parent still retains some or any of their parental rights, he or she must consent to the adoption. Also, if the child the stepparent wishes to adopt is 14-years-old or older, the child must also consent to the adoption.
  • In order to consent to the adoption, the child’s parent is required to relinquish their legal parental rights. If the parent has already denied paternity to the child or abandoned the child, you do not have to gain their consent. If the parent contests the adoption, you will have to prove that he or she is an unfit parent.

Get in Touch With a DuPage County Family Law Attorney to Discuss Your Options

While a related adoption is in some ways easier to complete than an unrelated adoption, it does not come without its own set of struggles and stresses. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we understand the significance that a stepparent adoption can have for both the parent and the child. Our compassionate Aurora, IL family law lawyers can help you with the stepparent adoption process from beginning to end. Get in touch with our office today to discuss the details of your situation. Call us at 630-409-8184 to schedule your initial consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2098&ChapterID=59

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/f_step.pdf

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