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Related Child Adoption

Posted on in Adoption
Rigs related child adoptionDivorcees tend to date, and eventually marry, other divorcees. Independently of the reason for this, some people wonder what happens when one or both spouses have a child from a prior marriage. Frequently, the stepparent tries to take the role of the biological parent and adopts the stepchildren. In Illinois, this is known as one type of related child adoption. Related child adoptions occur in situations where the adopting parent stands in a special relationship to the child, e.g., stepparent, grandparent, brother, sister, step-grandparent, step-brother, step-sister, uncle, aunt etc. Related child adoption reflects a social reality of family members stepping up when a biological parent cannot. The biological parent, however, still has certain parental rights, and before related child adoption can take place, those rights must be terminated. Parental rights are often terminated voluntarily with the biological parent consenting to the adoption. Other times, it is necessary to have a court terminate those rights. In Illinois, a judge has to find that the biological parent is unfit to be a parent and as such their rights must be terminated. A finding of unfitness is no easy task, and requires a systematic presentation of facts that support the argument that the biological parent is not fit to take care of the child. These facts may include abandonment, failure to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, desertion, neglect, extreme or repeated cruelty, physical abuse and conviction for crimes involving depravity. If the judge decides to terminate the right of the biological parent, the related child adoption may continue. At this stage, the real adoption process begins and the parents must carefully follow the Illinois adoption statute procedures. If you are considering related child adoption or if you face a request for one, discuss your options with experienced Illinois family law attorney.
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