Families come together in many ways. Each journey is unique, but also beautiful. There’s not a “right” way to form a family, and we passionately support the route you are taking.
Stepparent adoption is one of the most common types of adoption in America; yet, it often flies under the radar. Often, infant adoptions or international adoptions come with a lot of fanfare. There are fundraisers and “gotcha day” videos, with the occasional story going viral and being picked up by the news. You rarely see this type of coverage with stepparent adoption, which is a shame.
It’s a shame, because your stepparent adoption is a just as real, important and emotional as any other type of adoption. This belief informs the way we have served families for more than 25 years. First as Genie Miller Gillespie, Attorney at Law, and now as Gillespie Law Group, LLC, we have always advocated passionately for the families we serve. We genuinely care about your stepparent adoption, and we will do everything we can to help you make it a reality. Whether your path involves adopting a stepchild in Illinois or stepparent adoption of an adult, Gillespie Law Group, LLC is proud to provide excellent stepparent adoption legal services.
If you know that you need an attorney for adoption by a stepparent, contact us today. If you are still considering a stepparent adoption and need more information, then this guide will help you out. Here are some of the most important things you need to know about the stepparent adoption process in Illinois and the laws that pertain to it.
Stepparent Adoption Process
How does stepparent adoption work? In nearly all cases, the stepparent adoption process is much quicker than other types of adoption. You get to skip the steps that take the longest time — choosing an adoption agency, creating an adoptive family profile and waiting for a prospective birth mother to choose your family. Instead, the match is already made. Since you’re starting ahead of the game, the process can take a lot less time.
The first step in a stepparent adoption is to contact an adoption attorney with expertise and experience with adoption law in your state. Each state has different laws for stepparent adoption. We have been practicing adoption law in Illinois for more than 20 years, and we know the ins and outs of stepparent adoption better than anyone. This is a primarily legal process, and we can guide you through it from start to finish.
After we get to know each other and gain an understanding of your unique situation, we can proceed with the rest of the stepparent adoption process in Illinois. This involves working with a local court, obtaining consent to adoption from all necessary parties, completing stepparent adoption forms and finalizing the adoption at a court hearing.
Stepparent Adoption Laws — Steps to Legally Adopt a Stepchild
As we said, adoption by a stepparent is a legal process. You will benefit from our expertise at every step. Here are a few of the biggest steps of the process that can be difficult to navigate without the professional guidance of an adoption attorney:
Consent to the Adoption: Adoption consent is typically required from both biological parents, including the one that is not a part of this new family relationship. This parent relinquishes rights as legal parent responsibility and privileges are transferred to the stepparent.
This can be the most delicate step of the process, especially if the noncustodial parent is not immediately open to the adoption. We have worked through many stepparent adoptions where this is the case, and we are prepared to help you through any challenges in obtaining consent. This may include involuntary termination of parental rights, which can be an uncomfortable but necessary step. We will work on your behalf to make this as stress-free as possible.
Stepparent Adoption Forms: Each state has its own requirements for stepparent adoptions. While you may be able to find DIY forms online, there’s no promise they are up-to-date or accurate. Our office can draft your stepparent adoptions forms and guarantee they are court-ready, and make sure your adoption is done correctly; often for less time and money than you think.
Working with a Local Court: Your adoption finalization hearing will happen in a local court. With cases like this, it never hurts to have established relationships. In more than 25 years of work, we’ve formed quality connections to the judges and courts in which we work. In Illinois, you can do your adoption in any county in the State, regardless of where you live.
Benefits of a Stepparent Adoption
As a stepparent, your relationship with your child is already real and established, personally and emotionally. There are significant benefits to making this personal relationship a legally recognized one.
Stepparent adoption grants you parental rights, which gives you the ability to make important decisions when it comes to health, education, emergencies and more. If, for instance, there is a medical emergency and a parent is needed to sign off on surgery, you cannot do this without the rights given to you by a stepparent adoption.
There are also emotional and personal benefits to this process. Your relationship with your child is special. Seeing it solidified in law can be a surprisingly meaningful experience. Even though the dynamic of your relationship may not change, there’s something different in knowing that it is now recognized legally.
We would love to talk with you about stepparent adoption in Illinois. Contact us today if you have more questions about how the process works or if you would like to get started on your process today.