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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

1100 Lake Street, Suite 120, Oak Park, IL 60301

DuPage County | 630-852-9700

Mokena | 815-727-6144   Oak Park | 708-848-3159

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Oak Brook step-parent adoption attorney

In recent years, the number of Americans who have gotten remarried after getting divorced has increased quite dramatically. The Pew Research Center reports that 40 percent of new marriages in 2013 included at least one spouse who had previously been married before. Having children from a previous marriage is not out of the ordinary, and blended families have become common in American society. In some blended families, the non-biological parent may want to legally adopt their spouse’s children. This is called a related adoption or, more specifically, a step-parent adoption. There is more than just one reason why a person would want to adopt their spouse’s children, but there are also a few things you should understand about step-parent adoptions before you do so:

  • Children can only have two legal parents at any given time. Illinois law states that a child can have no more than two legal parents. This can pose problems for step-parents who want to legally adopt their spouse’s child, especially if the child’s other biological parent objects to the adoption.

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Oak Brook parenting time attorney

There is arguably no relationship more sacred than the one between a parent and child. For children, solid, loving relationships with their parents are crucial for their healthy development and well-being. Because of this, many states, including Illinois, have placed specific emphasis on allocating parenting time to both parents of a child, rather than solely to one parent. Though it may not always be a 50/50 split, most cases involve both parents having parenting time with their children, and it is typically in the child’s best interests to spend time with both parents. However, there may be cases in which a judge finds that it is necessary to place restrictions on parenting time.

When Are Parenting Time Restrictions Appropriate?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) specifically states that both parents are presumed to be fit to care for their child and that in such cases, the court will not place restrictions on parenting time. In divorce and family law cases, the duty of the judge and the court is to ensure the child is being taken care of adequately. If the court finds that the child’s physical or emotional well-being would be endangered if he or she were to spend time with a parent, then the judge can restrict parenting time for that parent.

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DuPage County lgbtq divorce lawyer child custodySince 2013, gay marriage has been legal in the state of Illinois, and since 2015, it has been legal throughout the entire country. Many LGBTQ couples rejoiced in their newfound ability to get married, but they may still have a number of issues to overcome when it comes to LGBTQ families and the legal dynamics of those relationships. One of the issues that LGBTQ couples still face is children and how both parents can have equal parenting rights to those children. Many laws today are still worded to accommodate “traditional” parentage, with a mother and a father being the child’s parents. A handful of states (including Illinois) have developed what is called second-parent adoption, which is useful in both LGBTQ marriages and divorces.

Defining Second-Parent Adoption

Also known as a co-parent adoption, a second-parent adoption is one of the best ways an LGBTQ couple can ensure both parents have a legal relationship with their child. Typically, establishing legal parentage is still almost entirely based on the biological ties a child has with his or her parent(s). In many cases, when same-sex couples have children, one of the spouses is the child’s biological parent, such as when the child is conceived through a surrogate or using a sperm donor.  

Why Use a Second-Parent Adoption?

Marriages between a man and a woman are rather simple when it comes to determining parentage. If the mother was married at the time of the child’s birth, the man she was married to is presumed to be the child’s biological and legal father. In same-sex marriages, legal parentage is not that easy. Even if the parents are married when the child is born, the child is typically not considered to be the legal child of the non-biological spouse. Second-parent adoptions allow the non-biological parent of the child to establish legal parentage, ensuring that their parental rights and relationship with the child are legally recognized.

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Elmhurst paternity attorney

When a child is born to parents who are not married or who have never been married to one another, this can pose a few problems. In the state of Illinois, a man is only presumed to be the father of a child if he and the mother were married when the child was born, or if they were married within a 300-day period before the child’s birth. If neither of those situations is true, then the parents must go about other ways to establish the paternity of the child. In many cases, before a court will enter an Order of Paternity, they will require that the mother, the alleged father, and the child submit to genetic testing to determine the true biological father of the child.

Genetic Testing Procedure

The organization conducting the genetic testing will be chosen by the court, but a petitioner is also permitted to conduct independent genetic testing if they so choose. A child gets half of their genes from their mother and half of their genes from their father. DNA testing works by comparing the genes of the child with the genes from both parents. The Illinois Paternity Act states that DNA samples can be from blood, bone, hair, or other bodily fluids, though the most common way to gather DNA samples is from a simple swab of the cheek.

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Elmhurst domestic violence restraining order lawyerDomestic violence is an ongoing crisis in Illinois. During a recent 12-month study, more than 65,000 incidents were reported to police, while countless others went unreported. Around 33 percent of women and 25 percent of men across the U.S. have been abused by an intimate partner, and domestic violence hotlines get around 21,000 calls per day nationwide.

If you are a domestic violence victim or face the threat of physical harm, you can pursue effective legal action by filing for an order of protection. If you believe this is necessary for your safety and/or that of your children, contact a skilled family law attorney who can help you navigate the legal process.

Illinois Orders of Protection

An order of protection is issued by the court to place restrictions on an abuser or potential abuser. These orders are available to family or household members associated with the accused, including: 

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