As a Rockford family law attorney, I understand desires and concerns of couples who desire to become adoptive parents. Adoption should be a joyful time, and one where you are left with certainty and peace of mind following the adoption that you are truly the adoptive child’s parent. We will zealously work to help parents through the legal aspects of adoption and to ensure that, to the extent possible, all legal steps required in the adoption process are followed.
There are different types of adoptions in Illinois, including step-parent adoptions, adopting unrelated children who have been given up for adoption, and adult adoptions. Generally, the simplest adoptions are step-parent adoptions where the child is already living with the custodial biological parent and his or her new spouse.
Absolutely critical to all adoptions so that the adoption can never be undone, is that proper notice be given to all parties entitled to notice. Following the entry of the final Adoption Order, the parent and adoptive child’s relationship, is the same as the relationship between biological parents and their children.
In Illinois, adoptions are governed by several statutes including the Illinois Adoption Act 750 ILCS 50/0.01, et seq. The adoption process starts with the filing of a petition for adoption with the court. The next critical step in the adoption process is to make sure that all parties entitled to notice of the adoption proceeding are properly served. This process includes a search of the Putative Father Registry. The next steps in the adoption process depend upon the type of adoption involved, for instance whether the adoption is by a step-parent or an unrelated party.
Generally, the easiest adoptions are where a step-parent adopts a step-child. Home studies are not required. However, in step-parent adoptions a biological parent’s parental rights must be terminated unless, a voluntary, irrevocable consent to adoption has been executed by the biological parent.
If such consent has not been executed, the court must evaluate the relationship between the child and biological parent and the relationship between the child and step-parent who wishes to adopt the child. The Court will base its order granting or denying the adoption based upon the Best Interests of the Child. The Court will look at numerous factors in making its decision including employment, emotional, financial, and other relevant factors.
In unrelated party adoptions, an investigation of the adoptive home will be conducted, generally by a mental health professional. Again the court will be seeking to determine that the adoption is in the Best Interests of the child.
The final step in the adoption process is the entry by the court of a judgment of adoption which establishes the petitioner(s) as the legal parent(s) of the child.
The Adoption process can be complex, and the trauma of an undone adoption for failure to give proper notice emotionally devastating. You need peace of mind and certainty in this process. You need capable counsel, who will diligently and professionally pursue your adoption goals.
We can help reduce your stress by taking on the full responsibility for properly handling the entire adoption process for you. We will investigate the facts to make sure all those entitled to notice are properly served. When biological parental rights need to be terminated, we will work with mental health professionals and investigators to develop the best argument possible for the Court that the adoption is in the Best Interests of the Child. We will prepare all the proper paperwork, and vigorously argue your case to the Court.
You don’t need to stress over every detail of the Adoption – this is our job.