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Important Issues in an Illinois Stepparent Adoption

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:

  • Children can only have two legal parents at any given time. Illinois law states that a child can have no more than two legal parents. This can pose problems for stepparents who want to legally adopt their spouse’s child, especially if the child’s other biological parent objects to the adoption.

  • Certain parties must give their consent to the adoption. The first step in completing a stepparent adoption is getting consent from all applicable parties. If the child’s other biological parent is in the picture, he or she must relinquish his or her parental rights in order for the stepparent to adopt the child. If the other parent refuses to relinquish his or her rights, a petition may be filed asking the court to terminate the parental rights of the biological parent. In addition, a child over the age of 14 must also consent to the adoption.

  • Not just any stepparent is permitted to adopt a child. In Illinois, only the stepparent who is married to the parent who has the majority of parenting time is permitted to adopt the child. In other words, a judge will not grant an adoption if the child does not spend the majority of his or her time with the spouse of the adopting stepparent.

Thinking About a Stepparent Adoption? Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney

By far, the most common type of adoption in the U.S. and Illinois is a related adoption. Any type of adoption involves a lot of work, dedication, and patience on the family’s part, but stepparent adoptions pose unique conundrums that others do not. At Goostree Law Group, we understand how much a stepparent adoption can mean to a family. Our compassionate St. Charles, IL adoption lawyers will help you throughout the entire process, making it as easy as possible. Call our office today at 630-584-4800 to schedule a free consultation.



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