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Benefits of Adopting a Step-Child

Posted on in Family law

Winfield step-parent adoption attorneyAdoption, no matter how rewarding, is rarely an easy process. It is a lifetime commitment to a child that should not be taken lightly. Adopting a child of your spouse is often more straightforward than the adoption of a non-biological child, but it is still important to have confident representation. A DuPage County family law attorney can help you through the process of a step-parent adoption and ensure that your family’s rights are protected. 

Step-Child Adoption in Illinois

In Illinois, an adult who is at least 18 years old must meet the following criteria to adopt a child:

  • They must have lived in Illinois for a minimum of six months, unless they are in the armed forces. A member of the armed forces must live in Illinois for 90 days to be considered eligible to proceed with adopting a child.
  • They must have a good reputation. That is, they must have good standing in their community.
  • They must not have a legal disability. Mental or physical ailments that limit major life activities qualify as legal disabilities.

To legally adopt the child of your spouse, the parental rights of the child’s other biological parent must be terminated. A parent may voluntarily terminate their parental rights, or a court may find reason to terminate the rights of a biological parent if they are not fit to take care of the child. Some examples in which a court may decide to terminate parental rights include:

  • Evidence of abuse or neglect towards the child
  • Abandonment of the child
  • Habitual substance abuse
  • Failure to provide financial support 

If a child is over the age of 14, they must consent to the adoption. 

Benefits of Step-Child Adoption

There are a number of benefits to making the relationship between a step-parent and a step-child permanent. Officially adopting the child of your spouse may strengthen your bond with him or her and create a sense of completion to the family.

Step-child adoption can also provide legal and financial benefits. Your spouse may not have their own health insurance and rely on your insurance plan. Adopting their child may allow them to benefit from your insurance as well. In the event of an emergency, you would also be able to make important medical or legal decisions regarding your spouse's child. 

Some children may take more time to adjust to having a step-parent, and it is important to take the relationship with your spouse's child at their pace. Older children may be more resistant to step-parents and adoption, depending on their relationship with their other biological parent. It is best to consider the interests of all parties involved and work toward reaching a solution that strengthens your family relationships while providing you with the legal protections you need. 

Get in Touch With a Warrenville Family Law Attorney

Step-child adoption can be a great way to strengthen the bonds in your growing family. At the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC, our experienced DuPage County adoption lawyer can explain the process of adopting your spouse's child, work to protect the rights of everyone involved, and advocate for the best interests of your step-child. Set up a free consultation by calling our office at 630-836-6540.

Sources: 

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2098&ChapAct=750%26nbsp%3BILCS%26nbsp%3B50%2F&ChapterID9&ChapterName=FAMILIES&ActName=Adoption+Act%2E

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubpdfs/f_step.pdf

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