The Law Office of Christina Martell

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27475 Ferry Road, Suite 130, Warrenville, IL 60555

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Warrenville Relative Adoption Attorney

DuPage County step-parent adoption lawyer

Lawyer for Family and Step-Parent Adoptions in Wheaton and DuPage County

There are a wide variety of reasons why a person may wish to adopt a child, but the most common type of adoption occurs when a parent gets remarried, and his or her new spouse wishes to become the legal parent of the step-child. Step-parent adoption can solidify family bonds and ensure that both of a child's parental figures enjoy the rights and responsibilities that come with the roles they play in a child's life. In many cases, these adoptions can be finalized quickly, but a variety of legal issues will need to be addressed. Parents and step-parents can ensure that they are able to complete the process successfully by working with an attorney who is experienced in adoption cases.

If you are planning to adopt your step-child, Attorney Chrissie Martell can provide the legal help you need. She will walk you through the adoption process, ensure that you understand the legal requirements that must be met, and provide you with representation throughout the proceedings. She can also assist with other types of related adoptions in which family members wish to formally adopt a child who is in their care.

Legal Issues Involved in a Related Adoption

A child can only have two legal parents, so when a step-parent wishes to adopt a step-child, the other parent's parental rights must be terminated. In many cases, this is done voluntarily when the child's non-custodial parent signs a consent form. However, if the other parent does not consent to the adoption, his or her parental rights may be terminated by the court if he or she is determined to be "unfit." Illinois law lists a variety of reasons why a parent may be found to be unfit, including:

  • Abandonment or desertion of the child for at least three months before the beginning of adoption proceedings.
  • Evidence of intent to forego parental rights, which may be demonstrated by a failure to visit or communicate with the child for a one-year period or failure to make an effort to pay reasonable child support.
  • Failure to show interest or responsibility in the welfare of a child during the 30 days following the child's birth.
  • Continuous and repeated neglect or extreme cruelty toward the child.
  • Two or more findings of physical abuse against any children by the parent.
  • Convictions of crimes involving "depravity," including first or second degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, or aggravated battery of a child.
  • Alcohol or drug addiction.

Once a parent's parental rights have been terminated, he or she will no longer have the right to share in parental responsibilities or parenting time, and his or her child support obligations will also be terminated. When the adoption is completed, the step-parent will become the child's legal parent. If the parent and step-parent get divorced in the future, both parents will have parental rights toward the child, and they will both be obligated to support the child financially.

Contact a West Chicago Family Law Attorney

If you wish to legally adopt your step-child, Chrissie can work with you to complete your legal requirements as quickly and efficiently as possible. She can help you obtain consent from all applicable parties, and if necessary, she can provide you with representation and demonstrate to the court why the other parent's parental rights should be terminated. With her help, you can build a strong family relationship that will allow you to meet your child's needs for the rest of his or her life.

To schedule a consultation at the Law Office of Christina Martell, contact us by calling 630-717-2772. We provide consultations for a $100 fee, and this amount will be credited toward your account upon retention. We assist with adoptions and other family law cases in Warrenville, Wheaton, Winfield, Naperville, West Chicago, and throughout Kane, DuPage, and Cook Counties.

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