Tag Archives: stepparent rights

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.

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child custody, Illinois, divorce, children of divorce, Illinois child custody lawyerDivorce is never an easy process. Spouses who have decided to go through with a divorce cite reasons including infidelity, finances, or just plain old irreconcilable differences. Whatever the reason for the split, the effect of the divorce is rarely felt solely by those that call each other spouse. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry states that one in two marriages today end in divorce, many of them being families that include children. Unavoidably, this brings up the unpleasant issue of child custody. Unfortunately, sometimes this topic is used as a weapon in one spouse’s attempt to harm the other. When parents cannot agree on where the children will live, courts refer to statutes and case law for guidance.

Custody Awarded Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act

 Child custody proceedings are automatically commenced when a parent files a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, declaration of invalidity of marriage, or simply a petition for custody. A stepparent or a grandparent can also start child custody proceedings in very specific circumstances, usually involving the incapacity or death of the custodial parent.

 The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act identifies factors affecting the award of child custody. When the court decides custody, they will make a determination to serve the best interests of the child. Relevant factors that the court takes into consideration include the wishes of the child’s parents, the wishes of the child, the child’s interactions, the child’s adjustment, the parties’ health, the presence of violence or abuse, and the parties’ cooperation.

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