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West Dundee, IL847-428-7725
St. Charles, IL630-200-4882
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What Are the Steps for a Related Adoption in Illinois?

Posted on in Family Law

Kane County family law attorneysAdoption is a wonderful way to expand a family and give a child a loving home. The road to achieving this dream can be a long process, but well worth it. In certain situations, a couple may wish to adopt a relative if the child’s biological parents die or are unable to care for the child. In other cases, a person may want to adopt a stepchild after getting remarried. The procedures for related adoptions are different than traditional domestic or international adoptions, so it is important to learn the requirements before embarking on this journey.   

How Are Related Adoptions Different From Other Adoptions?

Unlike domestic or international adoptions, related (also called “kinship”) and stepparent adoptions are typically handled in a more streamlined process in the courts. In the majority of cases, background checks, family investigations, and home visits by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) are not required. To initiate a relative or stepparent adoption, all of the following must be true:

  • The stepparent relationship must be legally established (the stepparent’s marriage to the child’s birth parent is valid);
  • The child consents to the adoption, if he or she is at least 14 years old; and
  • The child’s other parent consents to the adoption and termination of his or her parental rights, or such rights are terminated by a judge.

In a relative or stepparent adoption, the other biological parent’s rights must be terminated before the stepparent can legally adopt his/her spouse’s child. If the other parent contests the adoption, grounds for terminating the other’s parental rights must be proven. Possible grounds can include the following:

  • Abandonment;
  • Statutory neglect;
  • Desertion for at least three months before starting the adoption process;
  • Failure to pay child support (even with the financial means to do so);
  • Failure to put forth an effort to be involved in the child’s life; and
  • Physical abuse.

Adopting a child should not be taken lightly. Other factors such as the emotional impact on the entire family should be considered before taking on the responsibility of raising another child. Some aspects to think about when adopting a relative or stepchild include:

  • Consider the effect on extended family members;
  • Evaluate all your options to make sure an adoption is right for your immediate family;
  • Know your rights in court cases;
  • Research adoption assistance and benefits; and 
  • Consult with an adoption lawyer.

Contact an Algonquin Family Law Attorney

Adopting a child can be life-changing for you as well as the child who is being adopted. In some cases, you may be related to the child or wish to formally adopt a stepchild. It is important to understand the different kinds of adoption and the necessary legal steps to achieve this dream. One of our experienced Geneva related adoption lawyers can assist you in expanding your family through a related adoption. Call our office today at 630-200-4882 to schedule an initial consultation. 




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