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By far, the most common form of adoption in Illinois and throughout the United States are related adoptions. A related adoption means the parent and the child are in some way related to one another. Step-parent adoptions are one of the most common forms of related adoptions, and they occur when the biological parent of a child remarries and their new partner adopts the child.

When a step-parent adopts a child, that person wants to assume the parental rights and responsibilities of that child. There may be many reasons why a step-parent would want to adopt their step-child; some step-parents want to formally solidify their parent-child relationship or be the child’s second parent when their other biological parent is not present. Regardless of the reason, there are certain things you should know before you pursue a step-parent adoption: 

  1. Your child can only have two legal parents. The state of Illinois only allows a child to have two legal parents at any given time. This means that you would have to make sure that your step-child’s other parent would have to relinquish their parental rights.

  2. Only the spouse who is married to the custodial parent can adopt the child. In order for a step-parent to adopt a child, that step-parent has to be married to the child’s biological parent who has the majority of the parenting time. For example, if the wife of the child’s father wanted to adopt the child, but the child lived with his mother most of the time, the adoption would not be granted.

  3. Requirements are more lenient for related adoptions. When you adopt in Illinois, there are certain requirements that you must meet and certain steps you must take before your adoption will be granted. When you are adopting a step-child, the requirements are a little more lenient. You do not have to complete a home study, and adoptions are typically granted more easily.

  4. You have to gain proper consent. Because children are only allowed to have two legal parents at any given time, a step-parent will have to gain the consent of the child’s other biological parent before the adoption can be completed. The parent may voluntarily give up his or her rights, or the step-parent can petition to have their parental rights terminated.

Have Questions About Step-Parent Adoption? An Orland Park, IL Adoption Attorney Can Help

Any adoption can be a complicated legal process, but a step-parent adoption can sometimes be emotionally stressful as well. If you are looking to adopt your spouse’s child, you should get in touch with a Will County step-parent adoption lawyer today. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., we have more than 95 years of combined experience helping families become complete through adoption. If you have questions about a step-parent adoption, call our office today at 815-727-6144 to schedule a free consultation.