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Terminating Parental Rights During the Illinois Adoption Process

 Posted on January 06, 2021 in Adoption

Wheaton adoption lawyersAdopting a child is one of the most generous things that a person can do, as it often provides a child in need with a stable home and a loving family. However, the adoption process is not always easy, especially if one or both of the biological parents still have parental rights. This is often the case in a step-parent adoption or related adoption when the potential adopter or adopters are seeking to give the child a better life than the current legal parents are able or willing to provide. In these cases, it is necessary to terminate the current parents’ rights, either voluntarily or by court order, for the adoption to be able to proceed.

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights in Illinois

Terminating parental rights is typically much easier if the biological parents are willing to consent to the adoption. This may be the case if a parent is uninterested in being part of the child’s life, or if he or she recognizes that the adoption would be in the child’s best interest. A person who cedes parental rights loses standing to pursue parenting time or decision-making authority regarding the child, and also is no longer obligated to provide financial support for the child. There may sometimes be a challenge in locating an absent parent to obtain consent, but if this is the case, there may be other options for terminating parental rights.

Proving That a Parent is Unfit

If a parent does not willingly consent to the adoption, the potential adopters will likely need to petition the court for the termination of the biological parent’s rights and demonstrate that the parent is unfit. There are a number of reasons that a parent can be declared unfit according to Illinois law, including:

  • Abandonment or desertion of the child
  • Failure to show interest in the child’s well-being
  • Continuous neglect of the child, or failure to provide financially for the child’s needs
  • Cruelty toward the child, including physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Depravity based on a criminal history including convictions for murder, battery of a child, or other felony offenses
  • Habitual drunkenness, substance abuse, or mental illness that prevents the performance of parenting responsibilities
  • Other actions that indicate an intention to forgo parental rights

If the court finds that the adoptive parents have sufficient evidence of one or more of these circumstances, it may order the termination of parental rights and make it possible for the adoption process to move forward.

Contact a DuPage County Adoption Lawyer

Terminating parental rights is often complicated, and you can benefit from the services of an experienced Wheaton, IL family law attorney to help you obtain the necessary consent or present your case for a parent’s unfitness. For a free initial consultation, contact the Davi Law Group today at 630-824-3474.




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