call us630-584-4800

Free Consultations

How Can I Adopt My Stepson or Stepdaughter?

Posted on in Adoption

Wheaton, IL stepparent adoption lawyerModern families come in all shapes and sizes. Often, the individuals who care for a child are not his or her biological parents. Stepparents can play a crucial role in the lives of their stepchildren. In many cases, a stepparent becomes more of a parent to a child than the child’s biological mother or father is.

Unfortunately, stepparents have few rights when it comes to their stepchildren. For example, if a married couple divorces, the stepparent would not typically have child custody rights like parenting time and parental responsibilities. One of the best ways for a stepparent to protect his or her rights and substantiate his or her legal relationship with the stepchild is to adopt the stepchild.    

Stepparent Adoption Laws in Illinois

The first thing to understand about stepparent adoption is that a child can have a maximum of two legal parents under Illinois law. If both of a child’s biological parents are still living and have parental rights, one of them will need to relinquish his or her parental rights in order for a stepparent adoption to take place. In some cases, a parent is willing to make this sacrifice because he or she knows it is in the child’s best interests. For example, a father who has been largely uninvolved in his son’s life may recognize that the son would be better off if his stepfather adopted him. Parents suffering from substance abuse, addictions, mental illnesses, and other problems sometimes voluntarily give up their parental rights and allow stepparent adoption because they recognize that they cannot provide the parental support the child needs.

Should I Pursue an Agency Adoption or Independent Adoption?

Posted on in Adoption

St. Charles Adoption LawyerAdoption can be а complex process with mаny different steps аnd requirements. If you are interested in adding a child into your family through adoption, you have many options for doing so in the state of Illinois. 

One of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to pursue an agency adoption or independent adoption. During an independent adoption or private adoption,  hopeful adoptive parents find a birth mother who is willing to place her child for adoption. During an agency adoption, hopeful adoptive parents work with a state-licensed child welfare agency. Each type of adoption has its own advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before making your decision.

Adoption Through an Illinois Adoption Agency

Birth parents who recognize that they cannot care for their children may relinquish their parental rights to an adoption agency. This allows another family to adopt the child. In Illinois, agencies providing adoption services must be licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services.

The Benefits of Adopting Your Stepchild in Illinois 

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:

Understanding Consent in Illinois Adoption Cases

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

5 Questions to Ask a Prospective Adoption Lawyer

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..

Back to Top