Understanding Adult Adoptions

Posted on in Adoption

Geneva adoption family lawyerThe procedure for adopting children in Illinois is fairly straightforward, yet intensive. Multiple background checks are required, as well as home study and often fees paid to adoption agencies. The procedure for adult adoption is somewhat different, especially since adults, in most cases, are of an age and ability to weigh in on the issue. If you are interested in adopting an adult as a member of your family, it is important to ensure you are familiar with the law.

Why Adopt an Adult?

While it may seem strange to adopt adults, given that it is not possible in many other countries, many states in the U.S. preserve that right, Illinois included. Sometimes, doing so is necessary in order to legally formalize relationships that already exist in practice. For example, if a child grows to adulthood under the care of a stepfather or other guardian without a legal, familial relationship, that parental figure may be excluded from certain relevant decisions. Many people believe that a stepparent has a legal right to make decisions for a spouse’s child, but this is not the case in Illinois; a stepparent must adopt or otherwise be assigned rights over the child before he or she has any say in that child’s welfare, whether the child is a minor or an adult.

Adopting a Child Who Is Related to You

Posted on in Adoption

Geneva adoption attorneyAdoption has become a fairly common way to expand one’s family in this day and age. In many cases, children are adopted from foster care, but occasionally, an adult may decide to adopt a member of their own family for a variety of reasons. While this may sound unusual, it is more common than many believe, and it can be a faster way to remove a child from an uncertain situation, giving them a stable home. If you are considering this option, it can help to be familiar with the process.

Parental Rights Issues

The primary concern in such cases is whether or not the biological mother and father have abandoned or signed away their parental rights, or whether they are still the legal custodians of the child in question. The Illinois Adoption Act holds that both parents must waive their rights before a child can be adopted by anyone, and this does apply to a parent who has been inactive in a child’s life. For example, an absent father has the right to decline his consent to the adoption if he can be located. Usually, this means that you must show due diligence in your attempts to locate the father, with the matter being considered closed if you are unsuccessful after six months to one year.

The Process of Adopting Your Stepchild

Posted on in Adoption

Kane County family law attorneyThere are many different circumstances that can lead to a stepparent seeking to adopt their spouse’s child or children. The other birth parent may have passed away or is unable to care for the child. The stepparent and spouse might believe that they can provide a better home and living environment for the child than the other birth parent. Regardless of the circumstances, choosing to adopt a stepchild can be a long and complicated process. 

Consent of the Other Birth Parent

If the other birth parent currently has a legal right to their child, consent of that parent is usually required. This can be challenging in many situations. For a stepparent to adopt the child, the birth parent must give up their legal rights as parent first. This can be a very emotional decision to make. However, gaining consent from the other birth parent is possible in cases where the parent understands that they cannot care for the child and wants the child’s best interests protected. If the other birth parent gives up his or her rights to the child, they will no longer be required to pay child support. 

Adopting an Older Child

Posted on in Adoption

Geneva family law attorneyOne of the most talked about Hollywood marriages is reportedly coming to end, as Angela Jolie has filed for a divorce from her husband, Brad Pitt. The two have been married since 2014, but the relationship began back in 2004. Sources close to the duo say that the couple was planning to adopt a seventh child before their split. The couple became a poster child of sorts for international adoptions after adopting three children from Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Vietnam during the course of their relationship.

According to reports, Pitt and Jolie may have planned on adopting an older child—over the age of 10—to join the three adopted and three biological children already in their home. The couple allegedly wanted an older child for two reasons. They wanted the child to fit in with their other children and because older children are often disregarded. “Brad and Angie also believe that adopting an older child will make people aware of orphans who are often overlooked,” the source indicated. “According to Angie, everybody seems to want to adopt babies when there are so many other wonderful, worthy and deserving older children out there.”

Adoption is an option for families who cannot or choose not to have biological children of their own. Of course, other couples—like Pitt and Jolie—may utilize adoption in addition to having biological children. Roughly one out of 25 couples has chosen to adopt a child.

Geneva family law attorneyAs a parent, you will always want what is best for your child. By law, you also have a number of rights and responsibilities related to his or her upbringing and support. Exercising your parental rights can be challenging in the wake of divorce, especially if your ex-spouse has been allocated a majority of the parenting time and decision-making authority. When your ex gets remarried, your situation can become even more challenging, especially if his or her new partner expresses interest in legally adopting your child. If you are concerned about your parental rights being threatened, there are some steps that you can take to protect yourself.

Stepparent Adoption Requires Consent

In order for your ex’s new spouse to adopt your child, in most situations, you must grant voluntary consent. This means that you willingly terminate your parental rights and responsibilities for your child, as the law permits a person to have only two legal parents. A stepparent adoption is not a mere formality; it expressly transfers full parental authority and creates a legal parent-child relationship between your son or daughter and the stepparent.

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