How Does Stepparent Adoption Work in Illinois?

Illinois family lawyerIf you marry someone with a child, you may want to adopt their child. This is considered a stepparent adoption and involves a different process than adopting a child through private adoption or an agency. Fortunately, this process is far easier to complete. Let’s take a closer look at how the stepparent adoption process works in Illinois:

If all parties cooperate with the court, the stepparent adoption process can be completed in as little as 30 days. A home study which is used by the courts to evaluate whether a stable environment exists for a family to receive an adoptive placement is not required in a stepparent adoption.

However, the child’s other parent must be informed of the adoption. If the parent agrees to the adoption, their parental rights will then be terminated. In the event they do not agree with it, the court may determine whether they should keep their parental rights and whether an adoption is in the best interests of the child. It is important to note that a child is not legally permitted to have three parents. Therefore, in order for a stepparent to adopt a child, the other parent must terminate their parental rights.

Common Issues in Stepparent Adoptions

If your spouse’s child is 14 years of age or older, they have the right to veto the adoption. They must consent to the adoption in order for it to be valid. The child’s other parent also has the right to stop the adoption. If the court believes the other parent is unfit, the adoption process may continue without their consent. The following factors may be used to determine whether or not the other parent is unfit:

  • Abandonment;
  • Physical or mental abuse;
  • Child endangerment;
  • Child neglect; and
  • Failure to take an interest in the child through social contact or financial support.

You have the right to seek custody or visitation of the child if you and your spouse divorce after you have already adopted your stepchild. Instead of evaluating your ability to provide a healthy home environment and financially support the child, the court will consider the relationship you and the child have created since you’ve adopted them.

Contact an Experienced DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you love your stepchild and wish to solidify your blended family, stepparent adoption may be right for you. To learn more about the process and/or proceed with it, we encourage you to contact our Hinsdale family law attorneys. Call us today at 630-920-8855 for a free consultation.


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