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Stepparent adoption and blended families

Families in Waukegan come in all shapes and sizes. As divorce and remarriage becomes more acceptable and common place in our society, many parents and children live in blended families. Sometimes the bond between a stepparent and stepchild is as strong as if the stepchild was born to the stepparent. Stepparents in these situations may wonder if it is possible for them to formally adopt their stepchild.

The short answer is "yes" stepparent adoption may be a possibility in some cases, but there are still requirements that must be met. First and foremost, the permission of the child's other biological parent must be obtained. Sometimes this is not easy, as by consenting to the stepparent adoption, the biological parent is rescinding all of his or her rights to the child. This means that the biological parent will no longer be obligated to pay child support, but also that the biological parent's rights to visitation with or custody of child are terminated.

Of course, sometimes a child's biological parent does not play an active role in the child's life, so obtaining consent to a stepparent adoption is possible. However, if the child's biological parent does not agree to the stepparent adoption, his or her rights to the child can only be terminated if it can be shown that the biological parent is unfit or has abandoned the child.

In the end, sometimes it is in the best interests of the child for his or her stepparent to adopt him or her. That being said, it is important that all the legal formalities are met, as a stepparent adoption will extinguish the parental rights of the child's other biological parent. If a stepparent in Illinois is interested in adopting his or her stepchild, they may want to first consult with a family law attorney who can explain how the stepparent adoption process works.

Source: FindLaw, "Stepparent Adoption FAQ's," accessed May 1, 2017

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