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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.

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St. Charles adoption lawyerAdoption can be a wonderful way of expanding your family. Some people may legally adopt a child who is related to them or they may choose to adopt someone unrelated to them, either domestically or internationally. Through a legal process, a person who is 18 or older can become the legal parent of an individual who is not his or her biological child. There are several types of adoption in Illinois. Related adoption occurs when at least one of the adoptive parents is related to the child who is being adopted. For example, the adoptee can be a niece or a nephew, or it can be a stepchild in a second marriage. Although this kind of adoption is typically not as complex, there are still procedures you must follow. An experienced family law attorney can help you successfully navigate this life-changing endeavor. 

Steps to Becoming a Family Unit

Besides organizing the necessary paperwork and forms that adoptive parents must submit, they should also make sure their homes are in order before their child arrives. In addition, soon-to-be parents must prepare themselves emotionally and mentally. If a couple has other children, there will be a period of adjustment for them as well. 

Here are a few practical ways that prospective parents and siblings can help make the adoption transition easier:

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Kane County adoption lawyerMany couples choose adoption as a way to expand their family if they cannot have biological children of their own. On the other side of the subject, some parents choose to give up their child for adoption if they cannot adequately provide for the child’s needs.

Regardless of the reasons for an adoption, it is one of the biggest decisions that anyone will make in their lifetime. In some situations, an adoption can be contested. In the majority of cases, this happens when the biological father does not know about the child until the adoption process already started, or in which a biological father changes his mind about the adoption while it is in progress. 

Consent and Best Interest Hearings 

In cases where an adoption is contested, all involved parties must attend a consent hearing in court at which time a judge will listen to evidence presented by both sides. For instances when the biological father contests an adoption, he does not give consent to the adoption and he declares that he is willing and able to assume legal responsibility of the child. During the hearing, the father can show examples of his actions throughout the pregnancy, as well as after the child’s birth. For example, pictures or documentation of him going to doctor appointments or at the hospital after the birth, etc. However, if the biological father does not provide child support or contact the child for more than a year, he may lose his right to contest the adoption on the grounds of abandonment.

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