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Can I Adopt My Stepchild in Illinois?

Posted on in Adoption

IL adoption lawyerBlended families present unique challenges, and when it works well it can be a wonderful experience for everyone. Many new stepfamilies are created every day in Illinois, and many of those families create bonds that last forever. Stepparents who feel close to their stepchild and want to take on permanent parental responsibilities may consider adopting them.

In Illinois, stepparents can adopt their stepchildren, but it is not an easy process. Each situation is different, but there are a few things to keep in mind as you consider adoption:

There Can Only Be Two Parents

A child in Illinois can only have two legal parents. This means that, in order to adopt your stepchild, the child’s other parent must have their parental rights revoked or relinquished. That parent can relinquish their parental rights voluntarily by consenting to the adoption. If the parental rights are revoked as a consequence of neglect or abuse, this must be done in a court case wherein a judge will examine the relevant factors to determine whether the parent is unfit.

You Must Be Married and Have the Majority of Custody Rights

You must be married to the parent of the stepchild you wish to adopt. Furthermore, the parent you are married to must have most of the parental responsibilities of the child – you cannot adopt a stepchild who spends 75% of their time with their other parent.

The Adopted Child’s Consent

If the child is over 14 years old, the child must give their consent to be adopted. If the child is over the age of 18, they must give consent and one of the adopting parents must be related to the adoptee, or the adoptee must have lived in the home of the adopting parent for at least two years.

What If the Other Parent Cannot Be Found?

You and your spouse may not know where the child’s other parent is, or perhaps do not even know who the parent is. In cases such as these, parents may be able to ask a court to waive the requirement for the missing parent’s consent. Having an experienced family attorney on your side throughout the adoption will help navigate these complexities and streamline the proceedings.

Contact a Lombard Family Law Attorney

If you are considering adopting your stepchild, you should speak with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. The law offices of A. Traub & Associates will handle your case with compassion and skill and get you the help you need. Contact us today for a confidential consultation at 630-426-0196.

 

Sources:

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

https://www.isba.org/public/guide/adoption

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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