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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in stepparent adoption

wheaton divorce lawyerIn the years after a divorce, finding a new partner and planning to remarry can be a major bright spot in your life. If your partner has children, you can also look forward to becoming a stepparent, an experience that can be both challenging and rewarding. You may be intimidated by the prospect of bonding with your partner’s kids, but there are things you can do to help these new relationships develop in a positive direction.

Getting to Know Your Future Stepchildren

If you know that your relationship is serious and could lead to marriage, it is a good idea to start getting to know your partner’s kids. It is normal for children to be skeptical or even resentful of a parent’s new love interest, but spending short periods of time with them can help them grow more comfortable with you and the role you will play in their lives. Make an effort to take genuine interest in the things that are important to your future stepchildren, and find common interests that you can bond over.

After becoming a stepparent, you should keep in mind that your stepchildren may be resistant to viewing you as a parental figure, especially if they have a strong relationship with their other parent. Try to give your stepchildren their space and respect their boundaries, and start with a foundation of mutual respect. Over time, this respect can grow into a stronger relationship.

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Posted on in Adoption

Wheaton stepparent adoptionAs a stepparent, you have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child you love. You are yet another source of support, love, and guidance. Still, the role of a stepparent can be difficult to navigate because you do not have the same authority as a biological parent. Thankfully, there are ways to bond and connect with your stepchild, without undermining either of the child’s biological parents. Learn more in the following sections. 

Offer Patience and Mindfulness During the Transition

Entering a family with two active and involved biological parents can be difficult—for both you and the child. As such, it is best if you approach the process slowly, with patience and mindfulness. Avoid high expectations, expensive gifts, and drawn-out family meals or activities. Focus instead on making each interaction short but positive. 

Recognize the Child May Need Time to Grieve 

Divorce and separation can have a massive impact on the development of a child. Many experience a grieving period. Be mindful of this, and allow them the room to process the changes within their family before expecting much of a bond with them. 

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Illinois adoption attorneysAdopting a child is a monumental decision. It is also a complex legal process, regardless of whether you are going through an agency or the state. Even when adopting a child or adult within your own family, there are certain legal steps and procedures that one must follow. Gain a brief understanding of this process in the following sections, and discover how our seasoned Wheaton adoption attorneys can help you successfully navigate the complexities of your case. 

Determining Your Adoption Method

The first step to adoption is to determine what path you want (or need) to take, as some processes are specific to the type of adoption you are pursuing. For example, those seeking an international adoption will have to go through more legal steps (securing a passport, meeting with the embassy of the child’s birth country, etc.) than someone seeking a step-parent adoption. 

Some adopting families will immediately know the type of adoption they want (most common in intra-family adoptions). Others will have questions about the differences between the types of adoption, or they may have reservations about pursuing one path over another (foster care adoption versus private adoption). If you are uncertain, a seasoned attorney can answer your questions and help guide you to the path that most suits your family’s desires and expectations.  

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DuPage County stepparent adoption lawyersAdoption is usually thought of as the process in which a single- or two-parent household brings a new child into their home, but not all adoptions happen this way. In fact, some adoptions involve a child that is already known and loved by the adopting parent.

One such example is the stepparent adoption.

In such cases, the stepparent is usually already a part of the family unit, and the biological parent in question may be out of the picture, no longer interested in being in the child’s life, or detrimental to the child’s mental, physical, or emotional development. Learn more about pursuing a stepparent adoption in Illinois, and discover how our seasoned family law attorneys can help to ease the process for your family. 

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DuPage County stepparent adoption lawyersAmerican families look quite different today than they did just a few short decades ago. In fact, recent studies have determined that approximately half of all families are blended, meaning there may be step-parents, step- or half-siblings, or any combination of the three. Some of these blended families co-parent with the biological parent (and perhaps the biological parent’s partner), but others find that a stepparent adoption is more appropriate for their situation. Learn more about the process, including how to determine if this may be an option for your family, and discover what an experienced attorney can do to help in the following sections.

Is Stepparent Adoption a Viable Option for Your Family?

Illinois state law does not allow a child to have three legal parents, so stepparent adoption may not be appropriate in every situation. Typically, they are reserved for situations in which one of the biological parents is deemed unfit or unsafe, but a stepparent adoption can also be pursued if the biological parent is uninterested in maintaining a relationship with the child. In the latter situation, parents and adopting step-parents must understand that consent—usually from the biological parent that would be relinquishing or losing their rights, but also sometimes the child, depending on the circumstances—is a critical element in stepparent adoption cases.

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DuPage County family law attorneysTerminating a parent’s rights to their child is not something that occurs regularly, but it is sometimes necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. How, exactly, does one go about doing this? Can it be applied in all situations, or are there only certain scenarios in which a parent’s rights can be terminated? The following answers these questions, and it provides important details on how an experienced family law attorney can assist you with the process, should it be warranted in your case.

Terminating a Parent’s Rights for Stepparent Adoption

Perhaps the best scenario in which a parent’s rights may be terminated is when there is a prospective adopting stepparent who wants to become the child’s legal guardian. Mostly, this is done with the consent of the biological parent. However, there are scenarios in which the family must go through the courts to prove that the biological parent is unfit, unsafe, or otherwise incapable of providing the love and support that the child deserves. In either scenario, the guidance and assistance of an experienced attorney is highly recommended. Note that grandparents, siblings, and other family members may adopt a child if both parents are willing to terminate their parental rights.

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DuPage County adoption lawyers, stepparent adoptionThrough a stepparent adoption, the natural child of one spouse becomes the legal child of the other spouse. Once a child is adopted, there are no legal differences between the natural children and children from another marriage. If you are considering adopting your stepchild, there are a few factors to consider to help your family through the process.

Consent is Key to Stepparent Adoption

A stepparent adoption is a form of related adoption. However, in this type of related adoption, the other parent must provide consent for the adoption. Sometimes, the other birth parent may agree that stepparent adoption is in the best interests of the child. In these cases, it may not be difficult to obtain consent. The adoption will be more complex if the child’s other biological parent does not provide consent.

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DuPage County family law attorney, extending your familyThe decision to adopt a child comes with many emotions—it is an exciting step for your family but it is also challenging. If you are looking to increase the size of your family through adoption, there may be issues that make the seemingly easy process very complicated. However, it is important to note, several avenues are available to you when making the decision to adopt a child.

Generally, when you adopt a child, you become the child’s legal parent and you will be given all parental rights and responsibilities as if the child was born to you. Likewise, the child will obtain all rights of a child, such as inheritance rights from both parents. In order for the adoption to be legal, the birth parents must consent to the adoption or the court must legally terminate the parental rights of the birth parents before the child can be legally adopted.

Different Avenues of Adoptions

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Posted on in Child Custody

stepparent adoptionIf you have a child from a previous relationship, and you are now married to someone else, you might be considering having your spouse officially adopt your child. Such a step can bring stability and legal force to one of the most important relationships in your child’s life.

Under Illinois law, adoption by a stepparent is considered a “related adoption,” which can be completed in a much more straightforward manner than adoption by a non-related person (750 ILCS 50/2). Your spouse would not need to get a criminal background check, unlike for adoptions involving non-related parties. However, you would still need to have a guardian ad litem appointed. A guardian ad litem is a lawyer who represents your child and his or her best interests, and their role is to assess you and your spouse and recommend a course of action for a family law judge who is presiding over the adoption case.

If the natural parent of your child, your ex, consents to the adoption, the process is fairly straightforward. Illinois law favors families with two parents, so as long as there is another parent ready and willing to step into the role, the natural parent’s rights can be terminated. Your ex must give their consent freely before a judge. There are six different forms of consent, each one appropriate for different circumstances. For example, the consent form for the adoption of unborn children is different from the consent form for the adoption of children over age 14. It’s critical to use the correct consent form and have its signing witnessed by a judge.

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