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Adopting Your Stepchild in Illinois

 Posted on October 07, 2016 in Adoption

Lombard family law attorneyWhile it may seem cold and impersonal to reduce family relationships to mere statistics, the numbers can hardly be disputed. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that, thanks to increasing rates of remarriage and other factors, some 1300 new stepfamilies are formed every single day in the United States. It has become much more common and expected for a child to have a separate relationship with each parent and their respective new partners following their remarriages. In some cases, a child’s relationship with a particular stepparent becomes so strong that the stepparent may be inclined to legally adopt the child.

If you are thinking about adopting your stepchild, however, there are a number of things you will need to consider, including:

You Assume Full Parental Rights and Responsibilities

As a stepparent, you may have been able to forge a healthy, enjoyable relationships with your stepchild, but your legal rights and responsibilities are somewhat limited. You do not have recognized authority to make decisions regarding the child, nor are any inheritance rights presumed. Instead, your role may be somewhat limited, despite your love for the child.

A stepparent adoption makes you the child’s legal parent with all of the accompanying rights and responsibilities. The change is also permanent. This means that if you and your spouse were to divorce, you would have standing to petition for parental responsibilities and parenting time, and could be required to pay child support.

Consent of the Other Parent

Because of the magnitude of such a decision, adopting your stepchild will require the other parent to agree to the adoption. If the other parent has played a significant role in the life of the child and will not consent, the probability of the adoption being completed is very low. If the other parent has been absent or could be considered unfit, the adoption may be much more likely.

If your stepchild’s other biological parent is not in the picture or unknown, you will need to take steps to locate the other parent before the adoption can proceed. This may include searching the Illinois Putative Father Registry and other resources to ensure the rights of the actual parent are not compromised.

Call for Help

These are just a few of the considerations that must be made in deciding to adopt your stepchild. For more information regarding how to proceed, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at any of the three convenient locations of A. Traub & Associates today.



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