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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

9405 Bormet Drive, Suite 7, Mokena, IL 60448

Mokena | 815-727-6144

DuPage County | 630-852-9700   Oak Park | 708-848-3159

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 New Lenox divorce attorney for financial issues

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.

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Orland Park adoption lawyer

Adoption is a great way to help a child and bring them into your family. Whether you are a same-sex couple, a couple who is unable to have children, or an unmarried individual who wants a child, adoption is a viable option. Adoption can prove to be a challenging and time-consuming process because of all of the legal hurdles you face. One element of the adoption process that can be difficult is gaining proper consent so you can finalize the adoption. Gaining consent means the appropriate parties have agreed to give all rights and responsibilities related to the child to the new adoptive parents.

Who is Required to Consent in Adoption?

If the birth mother and biological father still have parental rights and legal custody of the child, both the mother and the father (if paternity has been established) are required to consent to the adoption. If the child is no longer in the legal custody of the parents, then consent can be given by:

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Mokena family law attorney child paternityThe only time the legal father of a child is presumed in Illinois is when the mother is married when the child is born or within 300 days before the child is born. In these cases, the man the mother was married to is presumed to be the legal father of the child. If the mother was unmarried at the time the child was born or within 300 days before the child was born, then it is her responsibility to establish the paternity of the child. Paternity can be established through a couple of different ways, but it is essential that it is done, especially if the mother is attempting to seek child support from the child’s father. Paternity cases can be confusing, which is why getting legal help is advised in these situations.

Ways of Establishing Paternity

If your child’s paternity is not automatically presumed, then you must go about establishing your child’s paternity through alternate means. There are two other ways you can determine your child’s paternity: through the use of a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form or by actions taken by a state child support agency or a judge. The easiest way to establish your child’s paternity is to fill out and sign the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form while you are at the hospital and have your child’s father do the same.

If your child’s father is unwilling to sign the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, you may have to enlist the help of the courts or Illinois Child Support Services. Either of these processes will require you, your child, and the alleged father to submit to genetic testing before an Order of Paternity can be established.

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Frankfort international adoption lawyerNot all couples go the traditional route when it comes to having children. For some couples, adoption is the best option to grow their family. Adoption is a rewarding and fulfilling process, but it can also be long and tedious. When it comes to adoption, there are a few different options that you have to choose from. The first decision you should make when adopting is whether you want to go through a domestic adoption and adopt a child from the United States, or if you would like to go through an international adoption and adopt a child from a foreign country. The international adoption process can be complicated, but a skilled adoption attorney can help.

Hague and Non-Hague Adoptions

For international adoptions, there are two types that you can choose from: Hague and non-Hague adoptions. The adoption process you will use will entirely depend on the country you decide to adopt a child from.

Hague Adoptions

Many countries are members of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. Also known as the Hague Adoption Convention, this international treaty was created to protect birth parents’, children’s, and adoptive parents’ best interests when going through an international adoption. Hague adoptions provide much more resources and protections to adoptive parents and their children than non-Hague adoptions.

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Mokena paternity attorneyThe number of babies being born in the United States to unmarried mothers is currently at an all-time high. In 1960, the percentage of babies born to unwed mothers was only five percent. In 2016, around 40 percent of all American children were born to unmarried mothers, and that statistic has remained steady in recent years. With the increased number of children being born to mothers who are not married, there is also an increased number of cases in which parents are seeking to legally establish the paternity of these children. In Illinois, paternity laws can be somewhat complex, and the process can be confusing, but establishing two legal parents for your child is worthwhile.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

It is now widely understood that children benefit from both parents playing active roles in their lives. While it is not untrue that a child’s father can be involved in his or her life without actually being considered the legal father, legal paternity can help. Legally establishing paternity can benefit your child by:

  • Ensuring your child has a legal right to a relationship with his or her father and the father’s side of the family;
  • Having the father’s name on your child’s birth certificate;
  • Making sure your child’s father has legal rights to the child if something happens to you that makes you unable to care for your child;
  • Allowing your child to be added to the father’s health insurance plan;
  • Making sure your child has access to his or her father’s medical records; and
  • Ensuring your child is able to receive his or her father’s Social Security benefits, pension, veteran’s benefits, and/or inheritance if the father passes away.

Ways to Establish Paternity in Illinois

The easiest way to establish the paternity of your child in Illinois is by having both parents fill out and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) at the hospital when your child is born. When you fill out information for the child’s birth certificate, you can ask hospital staff for a VAP and complete it then, or you can take the form home, complete it, and mail it to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

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