Formalizing The Relationship Between Stepparents And Stepchildren

Illinois families can be formed in a number of ways. Being a stepparent is a complex job, and many stepparents become a wonderful, positive influence in the lives of their partner's children.

If you are thinking of formalizing the relationship between you and your stepchildren, Denis M. Gravel & Associates P.C. is here to guide you. Mr. Gravel has over 20 years' experience as a family law attorney and is dedicated to providing clients with all the information they need to take the next step in their family life.

Preliminary Requirements

Stepparent adoption process is a relatively easy process under Illinois law. To adopt a stepchild, you must be legally married to that child's primary residential parent.

Obtaining Consent From The Other Parent

The primary challenge in stepparent adoption is acquiring the nonresidential parent's consent. Adoption cannot result in a child having three legal parents, so the other birth parent must relinquish their parental rights. If they do not consent to the adoption and refuse to relinquish their rights, those rights can be terminated in a variety of circumstances, including:

  • Abandonment
  • Failure to pay child support
  • Failing to maintain an interest in the child's well-being
  • Evidence of repeated physical abuse and/or neglect
  • Drug or alcohol addiction

"Abandonment" has several definitions in this area, but it typically refers to when the court can conclude that the parent intended to give up their parental rights. For example, if a parent fails to exercise parenting time for over a year, they have legally abandoned their child.

Call Today To Learn More

At our firm, we focus on the details of your case to achieve the best result possible. Call our office in Gurnee at 847-855-8447 to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced family lawyer. You can also contact us using our online form.