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What is a Related Child Adoption in Illinois? 

Posted on in Family Law

 st. charles adoption lawyerWhen parents with children from previous marriages get married to a new partner, that new partner often plays an active role in raising children that are not biologically their own. Over time, a stepparent can create a relationship with a child that is as close as that of a biological parent and child. 

When this happens, a stepparent may wish to adopt their stepchild. In Illinois, this is known as a related adoption. Other types of related adoption include older siblings adopting younger siblings, grandparents adopting their grandchildren, or parents adopting the infant of their own teen child. 

This article discusses the process of related adoption for stepparents and stepchildren, as well as some of the pros and cons of this type of adoption. As always, an experienced Illinois adoption attorney is the person best qualified to answer any questions you may have about the adoption process. 

How Does a Stepparent Related Adoption Take Place? 

In order for a stepparent to adopt their stepchild, several factors must already be in place. Illinois courts will require the following to be true before they will consider a stepparent adoption: 

  • The stepparent’s relationship to the child must be legally established - in other words, the stepparent must be legally married to the child’s birth parent

  • The child's other birth parent must consent to the adoption by terminating his or her own parental rights, or by having these rights terminated by a judge

  • If the child is 14 years or older, he or she must consent to the adoption

Stepparent adoptions can get complicated when the child’s other parent contests the adoption and refuses to give up parental rights. In this case, the first parent must prove that there are grounds to terminate the second parent’s rights. Grounds for terminating rights could include the following:

  • Abuse

  • Desertion for at least three months

  • Statutory neglect 

  • Failure to pay child support, despite having the ability to do so

  • Intentional failure to be involved in the child’s life

What are the Pros of Related Adoption? 

Related adoption can be a wonderful way to make a family’s legal reality align with their close personal relationships. For stepparents, it provides the opportunity to care for a stepchild as if it is their own. 

Children who are adopted by other relatives, such as siblings or grandparents, often have a more stable and nurturing environment and can be protected following a disaster involving the death of, or abandonment by, one or both parents. 

What are the Cons of Related Adoption? 

Sometimes, adoption by a relative can cause friction within a family. For example, if a biological parent gives up their parental rights and the child is adopted by a stepparent, the biological parent may later decide they want a relationship with the child and be unable to establish one. Or, if the biological parent refuses to give up their parenting rights, the child may be confused about the situation and torn between the love and loyalty he or she feels for both parents. 

Meet with a Kane County Relative Adoption Attorney

It can be difficult to know whether a related adoption is right for you and your family. Working with an experienced Barrington, IL adoption attorney can help you make this important decision. At the Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II P.C., we have many years of experience facilitating related adoptions in Illinois and take great pride in helping a family’s legal status reflect a loving reality. Contact us today at 847-428-7725 and schedule your initial consultation.

 

Source:

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

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