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Three Fast Facts About Related Adoption in Illinois

Posted on in Family Law

elgin family law attorneyAdoption is an essential way that a child can become legally integrated into the family they need. Children who are adopted often come from challenging circumstances, so the love and support of a family member who wants to care for a child can make a major difference in the quality of a child’s current and future life. When a family member of a child who is not biologically their offspring wishes to adopt the child, Illinois uses a process called “related adoption.” Related adoption differs from traditional domestic and international adoptions, so potential parents who are considering a related adoption should learn as much as they can before beginning the process. 

Which Relatives Can Adopt a Child in a Related Adoption? 

Related and stepparent adoptions are usually fast-tracked through Illinois courts because the child already has a relationship with the adoptive parent. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, first cousins, siblings, and stepparents may adopt a child in a related adoption. Stepparents must be legally married to a child’s biological parent. 

Background Checks Are Not Necessary

While most prospective parents wishing to adopt must undergo background checks, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will usually not require home investigations or background checks for related adoptions. But that does not mean that a serious criminal history will not influence a court’s decision about whether to approve an adoption. When such crimes do exist, potentially parents usually cannot adopt unless they can convince a court through clear and convincing evidence that they do not pose a threat to the child. 

A Biological Parent’s Parental Rights May Need to be Terminated

A child can only have two legal parents. When a stepparent or relative wants to adopt a child but the child’s biological parent is still alive and has his or her parental rights, these rights will need to be terminated. If the biological parent disagrees with the adoption, their parental rights can be terminated for a number of reasons: 

  • Statutory abandonment or neglect

  • Physical or emotional abuse 

  • Deserting a child for at least three months 

  • Failing to pay child support, even if he or she can afford to do so

  • Deliberately failing to maintain a presence in the child’s life

Clearly, adopting a child is a complicated process that needs to be taken seriously. Potential parents should consider carefully whether they have the means and commitment to provide for a child and whether the child would fit into the family’s current arrangements. An experienced adoption attorney can help parents considering adoption decide whether making such a commitment is right for them. 

Call a St. Charles, IL Adoption Lawyer

Adopting a needy child is one of the most generous and lasting commitments a parent can make. If you are considering related adoption, you may want the help of an experienced Kane County related adoption attorney at the Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II P.C.. We have helped many families streamline the adoption process and successfully bring home a cherished family member. To learn more, call us for an initial consultation at 847-428-7725. We look forward to hearing from you. 




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