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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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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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Adopting a child is one of the most wonderful things a person can experience, but because of the arduous legal path one must travel to get there, it can also be one of the most exhausting. Whether you go through the adoption process with the Illinois Department of children & Family Services (DCFS), work with one of the many adoption agencies in Chicago and the surrounding areas, or plan to adopt a step-child or complete a private adoption with someone you know, you will want to have an experienced adoption lawyer on your side. 

adoption is an intricate legal process, and because of that, it is essential to enlist the services of an adoption attorney . An experienced family law attorney can help you understand your legal requirements and provide representation throughout the adoption process. In some cases, DCFS provides reimbursement for the legal fees of adoptive parents.

What Does an adoption Lawyer Do? 

A skilled adoption attorney can help ensure there are no mistakes along the way that can add time to an already lengthy process. An adoption law professional will: 

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