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Stepparent Adoption: What Do You Need to Do to Adopt Your Spouse's Child?

Posted on in Adoption

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, adoption laws,Today, it is not uncommon for parents to divorce and remarry. It is also not uncommon for people to have children without ever marrying at all. When an individual with a child marries, his or her spouse may adopt the child and become his or her legal guardian. When this happens, the spouse becomes the child's stepparent. Although many families use this term to refer to a parent's spouse, the spouse must officially adopt the child to be legally considered the child’s stepparent. Adopting a spouse's child gives the stepparent certain rights regarding the child, such as the right to seek visitation with the child or even custody of him or her following a divorce.

Choosing to adopt your spouse's child is a life-changing decision for you, your spouse, and the child. Before becoming a stepparent, talk to an experienced family attorney to learn more about all that a stepparent entails. Adopting your spouse's child is different from adopting a child through an agency or a private adoption. The differences between the various methods of adoption are detailed in the Illinois Adoption Act.

Issues An Adoptive Stepparent Can Face

Adopting your spouse's child, though often quicker and simpler than completing an adoption through an agency or private adoption, can be delayed or even prevented by the child's other biological parent. He or she must consent to the adoption for it to be completed. If the child's other parent does not consent to the adoption, the spouse cannot adopt the child. If the court finds the other biological parent to be unfit to parent, it can take away his or her rights and then allow the adoption to continue.

Consenting to a spousal adoption strips one parent of all of his or her rights to the child. If the child's biological parent agrees to the adoption, he or she loses all rights to seek custody or visitation of the child as well as the requirement that he or she provide child support. The custodial parent and his or her spouse then have full responsibility for the child's care.

If the child's parents were not married when he or she was born and the biological father did not establish his paternity or register as a putative father within 30 days of the child's birth, he may not object to the child's adoption by the mother's spouse.

If a child is 14 years old or older, he or she may veto the adoption. To be valid, the child must agree to the adoption in front of a judge.

Child Custody Attorneys in Kane County

If you are considering adopting your spouse's child, contact Goostree Law Group to learn more about your rights and responsibilities that come with the adoption. Our skilled Kane County family law attorneys intimately understand the legal issues that modern families face and will provide you with attentive, detailed legal advice and representation.

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