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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

707 N. York Street, Suite 201, Elmhurst, IL 60126

Elmhurst | 630-528-0734

Mokena | 815-458-5660   Oak Park | 708-480-9651

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Adopting Your New spouse's children : What You Need to Know

Posted on in Uncategorized

When you marry to a spouse who has children , you may wish to obtain legalstatus as a parent for their children as well through theadoption process.Adopting step children isn’t as long and detailed a process as atraditional adoption (you won’t have to go through home visits anda long waiting period), but you will have to go through theunique obstacleof obtaining the right to adopt the child from thebirth parent. Let’stake a closer look at how you can do this.

Obtain Permission

Getting consent from the other birth parent is perhaps theeasiest wayof being able to complete theadoption process, but it’s far fromsimple. In consenting to this adoption, thebirth parent essentially agreesto give up all of their parental responsibilities. While this does includeany child support obligations, this can also mean visitation rights and the ability to see their children on a regular basis. If thebirth parenthas little to no relationship with their child to begin with , then obtainingpermission shouldn’t be as difficult. If they do, it could be trickier.

Terminate Parental Rights

You can avoid the requirement of obtaining consent by establishing groundsto eliminate thebirth parent’s parenting rights. this is probably themore difficult path, but is sometimes thenecessary one. There area few ways you can terminate parental rights, including these three common grounds:

  • Abandonment: When a birth parent has “abandoned” a child, they essentiallyforfeit their parenting rights as well. Abandonment can include simplethings such as failing to provide financial support for a child, failingto communicate with a child, or failing to be involved in their life foran extended period of time. You should talk to an Illinois family law lawyer to learn about whether you qualify to utilize this provision.
  • Unfit parent: If you have reasonable cause to demonstrate that a birth parent is unfit, then you may request a fitness hearing. Parents who are abusive, neglectful, abandon their children , mentally unfit, or have addiction problems with drugs or alcohol could be considered unfit parents. Parents who are incarceratedfor a long period of time could also be considered unfit. Consent is notrequired from unfit parents.
  • Not really the parent: If a parent who was thought to be the father of your spouse’s children turns out to not actually be the father through not having establishedpaternity, then consent isn’t required and you may proceed with theadoption process. However, “presumed fathers, ” or fatherswho meet the requirements of a father, can still block adoption unlessyou can prove they are either unfit or have abandoned their children .

Call Wakenight & Associates, P.C. to learn more about adoptions and get help with the legal side of your family law matters! Contact us by dialing 630-528-0734 today.

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