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Considerations for Adopting Your Stepchild

Posted on in Adoption

Kane County family law attorneysIn today’s American culture, remarriage is more common than ever. There are many reasons for the increase in second and third marriages, but most of them can be reduced to the idea that divorce does not cause people to give up on their dreams of being happy. For some, remarriage is relatively simple, with each spouse owning modest amounts of property and neither having children. In other cases, it can be more complex, particularly when children are involved. While some stepparents only ever develop a friendly relationship with their stepchildren, others become much closer. Some, in fact, take the rather large step of pursuing a stepparent adoption to create a permanent parent-child relationship.

Take It Slow

A whirlwind romance between two adults can be invigorating and exciting, and there is not necessarily anything wrong with such a relationship. However, it is unreasonable to expect that your new partner’s child is ready to accept you into his or her life just as quickly. Much depends on the child’s age and maturity level, but understand that the child is likely to have mixed emotions about you as his or her parent’s new partner. As you begin your life together, make every effort to be respectful and consistent in your attitude toward your spouse’s child, and do not push too hard. If a closer relationship is going to develop, it is going to take time and effort.

Pursuing an Adoption

According to Illinois law, a stepparent adoption is a type of related adoption, which means the process generally requires less, if any, oversight by state-sanctioned agencies. Instead, the matter is usually handled in family court. If you wish to adopt your stepchild, the court presumes that your spouse—the child’s parent—consents to the adoption. The child’s other parent must also be notified and provided the opportunity to consent or object. If the other parent has played an active role in the child’s life and maintained a healthy relationship, his or her objection will effectively prevent the adoption. If the child is age 14 or older, he or she must also agree to the adoption.

Adoption Is Permanent

It is crucial to keep in mind that adopting your stepchild is a life-changing decision for both you and the child. An adoption creates a legal parent-child relationship between the two of you—a relationship that will continue even if you and your new spouse eventually divorce. This means that you will have all of the rights and responsibilities of any biological parent, including the right to parenting time and the responsibility for paying child support.

If you have recently married a partner with children and are considering adopting them, contact an experienced Kane County family lawyer before you make any decisions. We will help you explore your options and understand all of the implications of a stepparent adoption. Call 630-584-4800 for a free consultation at Goostree Law Group today.

 

Sources:

https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/legal-information/adopting-child-0

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

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