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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.

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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

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Posted on in Adoption

custodial parent, Illinois Adoption, Kane County family law attorney, stepparent adoption, parental rights, legal adoptionAs a stepparent, you might feel like your spouse’s children are your children, too. While in reality you treat them like your own, it is not unreasonable that you also want them to be yours legally. If stepparent adoption is a path that you want to pursue, here are a few facts to keep in mind:

  1. You must be the spouse of the custodial parent. In other words, if the other parent has sole custody or residential custody, stepparent adoption is unlikely.
  2. The adoption process is easy if the other parent consents. A parent who consents to adoption, however, terminates all parental rights. This means that he or she does not have legally enforceable visitation rights. Thus, obtaining consent could be difficult if the other parent wants to be a part of the child’s life.
  3. The other parent does not necessarily have to consent. A stepparent adoption may proceed if the stepparent proves that the biological mother or father is an unfit parent.

A stepparent adoption can occur even if the biological mother and father never married. The process is a little more complicated, however, if the identity of the birth father is unknown. Note that if the father is known, and he does not seek an acknowledgement of paternity or register with the Putative Father Registry, he cannot object to the adoption.

If a stepparent is seeking adoption without the other parent’s consent, in order to proceed, he or she may prove that the biological mother or father is an unfit parent. Statutory grounds for unfitness include:

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