What to Know About Illinois Stepchild Adoption

 Posted on June 17, 2024 in Family Law

IL family lawyerAdopting your stepchild in Illinois can be a joyful occasion, but the process of achieving this may be complicated. The other biological parent of your stepchild must terminate his or her rights before an adoption is allowed to proceed, and this can create issues if a biological parent refuses. Additionally, potential stepparents need to meet certain qualifications before they are eligible to complete the adoption process.

An experienced Illinois stepchild adoption attorney can answer your questions about this process.

Who Qualifies for Illinois Stepchild Adoption?

Stepchild adoption can be a complicated process, and it is important to understand the steps of this process in addition to what qualifies someone to complete a stepchild adoption. In general, the following qualifications must be met before a stepparent is able to legally adopt a stepchild.

  • The stepparent must be legally married to the child’s biological parent; a boyfriend or girlfriend cannot legally adopt a stepchild.
  • The child must agree to his or her adoption if he or she is 14 years old or older, and teenage children have the right to refuse a stepparent adoption.

In addition, you should note that a child is only allowed to have two legal parents. This means that one of the child’s biological parents must terminate their parental rights to allow for the adoption to proceed.

Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

Sometimes, the termination of parental rights in a stepchild adoption goes smoothly. Other times, the parent may object to his or her child’s adoption, causing problems and resulting in the need for the court to involuntarily terminate the biological parent’s rights so that adoption can take place.

In general, the court must determine that a parent is unfit to maintain his or her parental rights before termination of parental rights can take place. Things that may qualify a biological parent as unfit include:

  • A history of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse to the child
  • Abandonment or severe neglect of the child
  • Failure to protect the child from danger
  • Evidence of disinterest in the child’s safety and well-being
  • Evidence of substance abuse
  • Certain criminal convictions  

Contact a Kane County, IL Adoption Lawyer

Adopting a stepchild is a complex process, and it is important to complete all steps correctly if you wish to finalize your adoption. Seeking the assistance of a knowledgeable St. Charles, IL adoption attorney is vital to getting this process started.

At Shaw Sanders, P.C., our attorneys provide compassionate and skilled representation of clients seeking to adopt their stepchildren. Call 630-584-5550 for a free consultation on your case.

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