Related Child Adoption
We have written with some frequency about adoption, both about the process and its benefits. This post deals with related child adoption, where the adopting parent is someone who is already related to the child, e.g. parent, grandparent, brother, sister, stepparent … etc. See 750 ILCS 50/1. This type of adoption normally arises in the context of a stepparent adopting their spouse’s child. A knowledgeable Kane County adoption attorney can help your family withe the process.
Related child adoption gives the stepparent the same legal rights as the child’s natural parents. In other words, the stepparent steps in the same shoes as the birth parent. After the related child adoption process is complete, the stepparent may make important legal decisions on behalf of the child. Related child adoption also imposes certain legal obligations on the stepparent, similar to those of a natural parent. For example, in case of a divorce, the stepparent would have the same rights and support obligations as a birth parent.
In Illinois, related child adoption usually requires the birth parent to relinquish their rights either by consent or by a judicial determination that they are unfit parents. If the birth parent consents, related child adoption is a straightforward process. Oftentimes, a birth parent will consent to the adoption because he/she does not want to be subject to state-mandated support obligations. However, the birth parent is also relinquishing any parental rights to things like visitation and custody.
If the birth parent does not consent, the adopting parent has to seek a judicial determination that the birth parent is unfit to have a child. Illinois has specific basis to declare that a parent is unfit, including abandonment, failure to maintain a reasonable degree of interest […], desertion, etc. See 750 ILCS 50/1(D).
Illinois related child adoption laws are very fact-specific. If you are considering related child adoption, or if you are facing a request to consent to one, you should consult an experienced Kane County adoption attorney. At the Law Office of Douglas B. Warlick & Assoc., we have helped clients in Geneva with their family law needs since 1981.
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