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Posted on in Family Law

IL family lawyerChoosing to adopt a child is a life-changing decision for both the potential parents and the child. Though you may have made up your mind about adopting, the process involves much more than just a signature on paper. One of the first choices that must be made is the type of adoption you wish to have. Common misconceptions about domestic and international adoptions often lead people into selecting the latter; however, many people fail to realize that international adoption is not always the best choice for every family.

Cost

Many people believe that international adoption costs far less than domestic adoption, but this is often not the case. According to Adoptive Families’ 2016 survey, the average cost to adopt from China was $36,070, Ethiopia was $38,667, and South Korea was $46,412. These are three of the most popular countries to adopt from, with China taking the lead at 2,354 adoptions to the U.S. in 2015. That same year, the average cost for domestic adoption through an attorney totaled $34,594.

Many people fail to recognize the travel and medical expenses that are involved in international adoptions. Often times the adoptive parents must get vaccinated, along with their future child, and make multiple trips to their future child’s country of origin. Travel and medical expenses greatly increase the cost of international adoptions.

Timing

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Posted on in Family Law

Illinois divorce lawyerThere are many ways to add a child to your family. Some couples conceive and birth biological children while others adopt children from the foster system, through private adoptions, and from other countries. When an individual with children marries, whether for the first time or after a divorce, his or her spouse may adopt the children and become their legal stepparent. This is known as a stepparent adoption.

A Child Cannot Have Three Legal Parents

One of the most important points to understand about stepparent adoption is that a child cannot have three legal parents. Although many children and adults refer to a parent’s spouse as their stepparent, a stepparent only has legal rights to a child if he or she completes the stepparent adoption process, which is only possible if the child’s other biological parent voluntarily gave up his or her parental rights or if these rights were terminated by the court. Otherwise, a parent’s spouse can build a strong relationship with a child, but without the legal rights that come with being an actual parent.

When a biological parent voluntarily terminates his or her parental rights, he or she no longer has any right to parenting time with the child. He or she also cannot be required to pay child support, nor can he or she seek child support from the child’s other parent.

Completing the Stepparent Adoption Process

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