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Posted on in Adoption

Kane County stepparent adoption lawyerAdoption is a lifetime commitment to a child that should not be taken lightly, and no matter how rewarding the ultimate outcome may be, it is rarely an easy process. Adopting a child of your spouse is often more straightforward than the adoption of a non-biological child, but it is still important to have competent representation. A qualified family law attorney can help you through the process of a stepparent adoption and ensure that your family’s rights are protected.

Stepchild Adoption in Illinois

In Illinois, an adult who is at least 18 years old, has a good reputation, and is under no legal disability can adopt a child. For some kinds of adoptions, the adopter must have lived in Illinois for a minimum of six months, or for 90 days if he or she is in the armed forces. However, this residency requirement can be waived in the case of a related adoption, including one involving a stepchild.

To legally adopt the child of your spouse, the parental rights of the child’s other biological parent must be terminated. A parent may voluntarily terminate their parental rights, or a court may terminate the rights of a biological parent if evidence shows that they are not fit to take care of the child. Some examples in which a court may decide to terminate parental rights include:

Posted on in Adoption

Kane County adoption attorneyAdoption can be a long and complicated legal process that tests the patience of even the most dedicated families. There are a number of loose ends that need to be tied up before an adoption is finalized. Among these is obtaining consent from all appropriate parties for the adoption. That often means getting permission from the child’s biological parents, as well as the adoption agency. In some circumstances, you might even need the child’s permission to adopt him or her. Getting consent from the child’s birth parents or adoption agency means that they are handing over all related rights and responsibilities concerning the child to his or her adoptive parents. 

Who is Required to Give Consent?

Under Illinois law, it is a requirement that a child’s birth mother and legal father give their consent for the child to be adopted. In cases where the child is no longer in the care of his or her birth parents, consent must be given by:

  • The child’s legal guardian

Posted on in Adoption

St. Charles IL adoption lawyerChoosing to adopt a child is a truly life-changing decision for all involved, and in order to ensure it goes successfully, it is important that you have an attorney who understands what is at stake. The adoption process can be very complex, even for legal professionals, and there are certain questions that you should ask in order to ensure you get a knowledgeable attorney who is equipped to handle it.

#1: What Is Your Background in Adoption Law

This is perhaps the most important question to ask. The process can be complicated for anyone, even those with experience, especially for certain types of adoption that may require you and your attorney to work with an international agency or biological parents who seek to contest the adoption. These challenges can be significant roadblocks for an inexperienced attorney.

#2: What Types of Adoption Do You Handle?

There are multiple types of adoptions, including related, private, open, agency-assisted, and others. Some attorneys prefer not to work with adoption agencies, and others may not handle adoptions from specific countries. It is important to ask about this upfront, so that you know whether the attorney will be able to handle your case..

Posted on in Adoption

St. Charles Adoption LawyerIn recent years, the number of Americans who have gotten remarried after getting divorced has increased quite dramatically. The Pew Research Center reports that 40 percent of new marriages in 2013 included at least one spouse who had previously been married before. Having children from a previous marriage is not out of the ordinary, and blended families have become common in American society. In some blended families, the non-biological parent may want to legally adopt their spouse’s children. This is called a related adoption or, more specifically, a stepparent adoption.

Understanding a Stepparent Adoption

There are many reasons why a person might want to adopt their spouse’s child. For some families, the bond between the stepparent and the children is so strong, the idea of legalizing the relationship is almost a given. In other cases, a stepparent adoption is motivated by affording the children inheritance rights and other benefits.

Regardless of your reasons, there are a few things you should understand about stepparent adoptions before you start the process:

Posted on in Adoption

Is an Open Adoption the Right Choice for Me and My Family?Adoption is a great option for many people who are thinking about a new addition to the family. There are many different types of adoption, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In many cases, when a child is adopted from an agency or directly from another person, the parents can choose whether the adoption will be open or closed. According to the Donaldson Adoption Institute, most (around 95 percent) adoptions in the U.S. now involve some degree of openness. The choice to pursue an open adoption is a personal one, but it can provide benefits to both the child and the birth parents.

What Is an Open Adoption?

There are actually a couple of different meanings to the term “open adoption,” depending on who you ask, and there are varying degrees to open adoption. Some adoptions are fully disclosed, meaning the birth parents will have direct contact with the adoptive family and child both before and after the child’s birth. Other adoptions are mediated, meaning the adoptive parents and the birth parents have contact through a caseworker or another third party by sending letters and pictures.

In an open adoption, the birth mother typically takes part in the selection process, helping choose the adoptive parents who will raise the child. Children also typically know that they are adopted when open adoptions are conducted. Following the completion of the adoption, the child may continue to have contact or an ongoing relationship with one or both of the birth parents. The parties may create an adoption agreement defining how often the child will see the birth mother, what forms of communication will be used, and other important considerations.

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