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Posted on in Family Law

Kane County family law attorneyIf you are preparing to get married to someone who has children from a prior relationship, it is important to understand what may be in store for your future, especially if you do not have children of your own. While you may have taken on certain responsibilities and been accepted as part of the family while you and your partner dated, marriage is a very serious step. When you say, “I do,” you will become a stepparent, and, from that day on, you will have a very real impact on the lives of your spouse’s children.

A Package Deal

It may seem obvious, but many new stepparents seem to downplay or outright ignore the role that a child plays in his or her parent’s life. It is easy to get caught up in the euphoria a new romantic relationship with your partner and to only think about the children on occasion. You must remember that, no matter how much you love your partner, you are not just marrying him or her. For better or worse, you are also marrying into a pre-existing family unit. If you are not prepared for this reality, the new family dynamic could quickly spiral out of control. This means that you may not get as much one-on-one alone time with your partner as you would like, at least while the child is fairly young. Instead, you are likely to have a wider variety of family experiences

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. 

adoption, stepchild, Kane County Family LawyerIn light of recent numbers showing that remarriage in the United States has reached an all-time high, an increasing number of families are being combined as a result. Many stepparents develop strong emotional relationships with their stepchildren as each becomes accustomed to new role and family dynamics. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the family, some stepparents are interested in more than just establishing a bond with the child; instead, they may seek the recognition and rights as the child’s legal parent through a stepparent adoption.

Stepparent Adoption Requirements

Related adoptions occur frequently in the United States, and stepparent parent adoptions represent the most common form of all adoptions in the country. Generally, the simplicity of a stepparent adoption in Illinois is contingent on three criteria being met:

Posted on in Family Law

blend family, Kane County Family Law Attorney, life quality, step-relatives, stepchild, stepfamilies, stepparent, divorce trends, life after divorce, children of divorceAccording to the National Stepfamily Resource Center, between 50 to 60 percent of first marriages end in divorce. Approximately 75 percent of those who divorce will remarry, and 65 percent of those couples will have children from prior marriages. In fact, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center about stepfamilies and blended families found that almost half of all adults in this country have at least one step relative.

In the study, the center surveyed 2,691 adults. Forty-two percent of those participating reported having a step-sibling, stepparent or stepchild. The research team asked participants a series of questions and compared the answers of those who had blended families to those who did not.

One of the first questions asked was whether or not the participants’ life had turned out differently than they had expected. For those who came from blended families, 54 percent said it had, while only 41 percent of those without step relatives said it had. However, the level of satisfaction of their life was about the same—70 percent for those with blended families, 78 percent for those without.

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