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How Can I Adopt My Stepchild in Illinois?

Posted on in Family Law

Algonquin family law attorney adoption

If you are divorced with kids and remarry someone who also has children, it is sometimes referred to as a “blended family.” As the kids’ stepparent, you may have experienced just how rewarding it can be to grow your relationship with your stepchildren and solidify your new family unit. In some cases, it may be a good idea to take the relationship one step further by legally adopting your stepchild or stepchildren. Illinois law outlines a process for doing so, and an adoption attorney can guide you through the necessary steps.

When Is a Stepparent Adoption Possible in Illinois?

If you are legally married to a child’s biological or legal custodial parent, you may be eligible to adopt the child. Illinois law treats stepparent adoptions similarly to adoptions by other relatives, such as grandparents and siblings, meaning that the process is simplified when compared to an agency adoption or independent, non-related adoption. For example, you do not need to establish six months of Illinois residency, and you will likely not be required to undergo a home investigation. However, you will need to file a petition for adoption in court, as well as obtain the necessary consent.

Of course, you will need the consent of your spouse, the child’s current legal parent, in order to adopt, but this is usually not an obstacle in a stepparent adoption. If the child is 14 years old or older, he or she will also need to provide consent, so in this case, it is important that you know that your stepchild wishes for you to adopt him or her.

The most challenging aspect of stepparent adoption is often the response of the child’s other biological parent. Often, a stepparent adoption occurs after the other parent has died or has been ruled unfit. However, if the child’s other parent is still living and has legal parental rights, you will need to obtain his or her consent for the adoption. Sometimes, a parent will consent willingly, but in other cases, you will need to prepare to argue in court that the parent’s rights should be terminated, based on his or her inability or unwillingness to parent the child, or a risk that he or she poses to the child’s well-being.

Benefits of a Stepparent Adoption

A successful stepparent adoption provides several important benefits to the child who is adopted. For one, it can ensure that the child has two loving, committed, legal parents, and a safe and stable home environment where he or she can thrive. It also means that the child can be covered under the adoptive parent’s health insurance and listed as a beneficiary for life insurance and certain other benefits. It also means the child is legally entitled to inherit from the adoptive parent after his or her death.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney

At the Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II PC, we understand that any adoption can be both rewarding and complicated. We will advise and represent you throughout the legal process of a stepparent adoption, working to obtain all necessary consent and to make the case that the adoption is in the child’s best interests. To learn more, call a qualified and dedicated St. Charles adoption lawyer today at 847-428-7725 to request a free consultation.

 

Source:

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

 

 

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